ROETHKE (THEODORE) Words for the Wind!, INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR TO SYLVIA PLATH ("For Sylvia Plath - may she read them all! - love, love T.R.)" on title-page, and BY TED HUGHES TO PLATH ("To Sylvia with all my love from Ted, Xmas 1960") on front free endpaper, Secker & Warburg, 1957
Lot 338
ROETHKE (THEODORE)
Words for the Wind!, INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR TO SYLVIA PLATH ("For Sylvia Plath - may she read them all! - love, love T.R.)" on title-page, and BY TED HUGHES TO PLATH ("To Sylvia with all my love from Ted, Xmas 1960") on front free endpaper, Secker & Warburg, 1957
Sold for £ 4,375 (US$ 5,761) inc. premium

Lot Details
The Property of Frieda Hughes
ROETHKE (THEODORE)
Words for the Wind!, INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR TO SYLVIA PLATH ("For Sylvia Plath - may she read them all! - love, love T.R.)" on title-page, and BY TED HUGHES TO PLATH ("To Sylvia with all my love from Ted, Xmas 1960") on front free endpaper, publisher's cloth, dust-jacket (sprinkled ?coffee stains on upper cover), 8vo, Secker & Warburg, 1957

Footnotes

  • Sylvia Plath's copy of a volume of Theodore Roethke's poetry, given to her as a Christmas present by Ted Hughes in 1960, and additionally inscribed to her by the author "...may she read them all! - Love, love...".

    In a letter to her mother (2 February 1961) Plath wrote that "Ted and I went to a little party last night to meet the American poet I admire next to Robert Lowell---Ted (for Theodore) Roethke. I've always wanted to meet him, as I find he is my influence. Ted gave me his collection "Words for the Wind" this Xmas & its marvellous... Ted and I got on well with him and hope to see him again" (to be published in The Letters, vol. 2). It seems probable that Roethke inscribed her copy of his poems at this meeting.

    Roethke's poetry exerted a major influence on Plath's development, especially during the two years she spent in America following her marriage. In March 1959 she recorded in her notebook "...finished a New Yorkerish but romantic iambic pentameter imitation of Roethke's Yeats' poems. Rather weak, not, I think book material", and in October that year she described a series of "madhouse poems" upon which she was working as "Roethke's influence, yet mine". The influence was strong enough that when Alfred Knopf agreed to publish an American edition of Colossus in 1962, "they left out several pieces because they ran the risk of a plagiarism suit" (Jonathan Bate, Ted Hughes, 2016, p.174).
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