PLATH (SYLVIA) THOMAS (DYLAN) The Collected Poems, SYLVIA PLATH'S COPY, ANNOTATED IN FIVE PLACES AND EXTENSIVELY UNDERLINED, New York, A New Directions Book [by James Laughlin], [1953]

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Lot 238
PLATH (SYLVIA)
THOMAS (DYLAN) The Collected Poems, SYLVIA PLATH'S COPY, ANNOTATED IN FIVE PLACES AND EXTENSIVELY UNDERLINED, New York, A New Directions Book [by James Laughlin], [1953]

Sold for £ 11,312 (US$ 13,721) inc. premium
PLATH (SYLVIA)
THOMAS (DYLAN) The Collected Poems, SYLVIA PLATH'S COPY, ANNOTATED IN FIVE PLACES AND EXTENSIVELY UNDERLINED, with upwards of seventy sentences or passages underscored, marked or bracketed in the margins, in two places with Plath's distinctive "star" symbol in black ink, 13 poems in the Contents marked, photographic frontispiece, publisher's blue cloth, worn, spine soiled and split, 8vo, New York, A New Directions Book [by James Laughlin], [1953]

Footnotes

  • SYLVIA PLATH'S COPY OF DYLAN THOMAS'S COLLECTED POEMS. Writing to Ramona Maher, guest editor of Mademoiselle, on 16 March 1954, Plath stated categorically "Dylan Thomas is my favourite modern poet", and in her formative years he undoubtedly exerted an enormous influence on both her own poetry, and her sense of what a poet could be.

    On May 20 1953 Plath went on "a literary pilgrimage" to hear Thomas give a poetry reading at Amherst, and early the following year reported to her friend Gordon Lamayer that she had been listening to recordings of Thomas ("the lyric Welshman I've been mourning for these past months" following his death the previous October) reading his own poems, "making me shiver and sometimes even to cry to hear ['Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night']" (The Letters of Sylvia Plath... 1940-1956, edited by Peter K. Steinberg & Karen V. Kukil, Faber, 2017); this a poem Plath has marked with a star symbol in this copy of the Collected Poems.

    Two years later, in April 1956, it was Dylan Thomas that Plath used as a measure against which to judge the qualities of Ted Hughes when she first met him. In a letter to her mother Aurelia (19 April 1956, cf. Letters, p.1164/5) she wrote "His [Hughes'] voice is richer and rarer than Dylan Thomas, booming through walls and doors... He reads his own poems which are better than Thomas and Hopkins...".

    Her copy of Thomas's Poems is extensively underlined throughout, with passages marked up in the margins. Beside 'The Hunchback in the Park' she notes "hunchback's vision-", "-That hunchback makes out of his vision", and "fantasy games of boys-"; alongside the text of 'Twenty-Four Years' she notes "Shroud of flesh - journey to the grave -", and, intriguingly, beneath the final stanza of 'Fern Hill', she states "Freedom with necessity".

    Provenance: Sylvia Plath, ex-libris on front free endpaper and annotations in her hand; Elizabeth Sigmund (1928-2017, co-author of Sylvia Plath in Devon: A Year's Turning, 2014, and under her former married name of Elizabeth Compton the co-dedicatee of The Bell Jar). Beneath Plath's bookplate Elizabeth has written in the quotation ("Even amidst fierce flames...") used for Plath's headstone; by descent to the present owner.
Contacts
PLATH (SYLVIA) THOMAS (DYLAN) The Collected Poems, SYLVIA PLATH'S COPY, ANNOTATED IN FIVE PLACES AND EXTENSIVELY UNDERLINED, New York, A New Directions Book [by James Laughlin], [1953]
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