ROGET'S THESAURUS ROGET (PETER MARK) Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases... New Edition, SYLVIA PLATH'S COPY, WITH UPWARDS OF 1000 WORDS UNDERLINED in black ink, and a few sections marked in the margin, New York, Thomas Y. Cromwell Company, [n.d.]
Lot 309
ROGET'S THESAURUS
ROGET (PETER MARK) Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases... New Edition, SYLVIA PLATH'S COPY, WITH UPWARDS OF 1000 WORDS UNDERLINED in black ink, and a few sections marked in the margin, New York, Thomas Y. Cromwell Company, [n.d.]
Sold for £ 13,750 (US$ 18,062) inc. premium

Lot Details
The Property of Frieda Hughes
ROGET'S THESAURUS ROGET (PETER MARK) Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases... New Edition, SYLVIA PLATH'S COPY, WITH UPWARDS OF 1000 WORDS UNDERLINED in black ink, and a few sections marked in the margin, New York, Thomas Y. Cromwell Company, [n.d.]
ROGET'S THESAURUS
ROGET (PETER MARK) Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases... New Edition, SYLVIA PLATH'S COPY, WITH UPWARDS OF 1000 WORDS UNDERLINED in black ink, and a few sections marked in the margin, publisher's cloth, patterned (?fifties) paper laid down on sides, crudely rebacked in leather (see footnote), worn, 8vo, New York, Thomas Y. Cromwell Company, [n.d.]

Footnotes

  • SYLVIA PLATH'S COPY OF ROGET'S THESAURUS WITH SIGNIFICANT WORDS UNDERLINED ON ALMOST EVERY PAGE, the first being "existence", the last two "convent" and "cloister". Plath treasured her Thesaurus, relying upon it in her formative years "to push her way through poem after poem" (sylviaplath.info website, which suggests that Plath's 1961 poem 'Tulips' was the first she wrote "without laboriously thumbing the pages of her beaten thesaurus"). Whilst at Smith College she wrote to her friend Myron Lotz asking "what is most worth working for? It's everyone's own choice. Me, I'll take my Roget's Thesaurus and be wrecked on a tropical isle" (The Letters, vol. 1, Faber, 2017, p.545), and to Gordon Lameyer (9 January 1955) that "While at the infirmary, since last wednesday, all I did was read the Thesaurus and write five poems" (The Letters, vol. 1, 2017, p.859).

    The book can be considered a major influence on her development as a poet, alongside the teaching of her college lecturers, and her own extensive reading. The choice of words underlined will no doubt offer a wealth of insights. For instance, in the section of words relating to "General Dimensions" the word "colossus" is underlined, along with "giant", "monster", "mammoth", and "tun, lump, bulk, block". This passage is one of a few that is highlighted by Plath with a "bracket" mark in the margin. Such was the use it received that Ted Hughes had to restore the binding.

    Provenance: "28 June 2011. My mother's Thesaurus - given to me by my father, who had repaired it for her as it wore out. Frieda Hughes", note on front free endpaper.
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