PLATH (SYLVIA) Typed carbon copy of the essay-memoir "Landscape of Childhood" [published as "Ocean 1212-W"], [circa January 1963]

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Lot 239
PLATH (SYLVIA)
Typed carbon copy of the essay-memoir "Landscape of Childhood" [published as "Ocean 1212-W"], [circa January 1963]

Sold for £ 2,550 (US$ 3,093) inc. premium
PLATH (SYLVIA)
Typed carbon copy of the essay-memoir "Landscape of Childhood" [published as "Ocean 1212-W"], on 8 sheets (recto only), each sheet with title "Landscape of Childhood", the first sheet headed "Sylvia Plath/23 Fitzroy Road/London N.W.1", the other sheets "Sylvia Plath" before the page number (i.e. 2 to 8), paperclip upper left hand corner, a few light single spots, folio (280 x 215mm.), [circa January 1963]

Footnotes

  • "MY CHILDHOOD LANDSCAPE WAS NOT LAND BUT THE END OF THE LAND": Plath's essay-memoir, "Landscape of Childhood", was almost definitely the last prose piece she wrote. She sent the completed text, from her flat at 23 Fitzroy Road, to Leonie Cohn at the B.B.C. on 28 January 1963, just two weeks prior to her death.

    In the essay Plath "reminisces about her childhood in the United States. The title of the piece refers to her grandmother's phone number at her home in the coast of Massachusetts, where Plath spent time when she was a young girl. The birth of her brother when she was aged two and a half is described as a particularly crucial moment in her childhood" (British Library website).

    The essay was subsequently published, with the title changed to "Ocean 1212-W" in the B.B.C. periodical The Listener (August 1963), and the anthology Writers on Themselves (1964), on both occasions with omissions and amendments from the typescript. For a full analysis of these, and a detailed description of the genesis and progress of the essay, from its commissioning by the B.B.C. producer Leonie Cohn (who suggested the published title), to a final letter sent by her to Plath on 8 February suggesting a few alterations, see Gail Crowther and Peter K. Steinberg, These Ghostly Archives. The Unearthing of Sylvia Plath, 2017. It is thought that the typescript sent to the B.B.C. is lost, and the current carbon copy, retained by Plath, is therefore the only extant version of the original poem.

    Provenance: 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); by descent to the present owner.
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