Typed Letter Signed, to Ted Hughes

PLATH, Sylvia

I am all for you, and you are that world in which I walk.

PLATH, Sylvia Typed Letter Signed, to Ted Hughes

1956.

The first letter Sylvia Plath ever wrote to Ted Hughes, describing her return to Cambridge after their marriage, and sharing the news that her poems had been accepted by Poetry. Six typed sides of Cunard Line letter paper (three sheets, folded horizontally, approximately 1,250 words), signed "Sylvia". Plath opens to tell "dearest Teddy" that she had safely returned to Cambridge. She recalls that "the trip back was hell", but that she had returned to good news, "something wonderful and incredible has happened; I restrained myself and didn't phone you; I restrained myself and put it in the second paragraph". Indeed, before revealing her good news, Plath talks him through her return to Newnham; a rejection from the New Yorker, tiresome college-mates new and old, and reading to catch up on, "Brushed through the fifteen odd New Yorkers which had stacked up... They'll be begging for us yet." Having shown sufficient restraint, Plath then shares her announcement, "AND NOW FOR THE GREAT NEWS: sit down, take a long sip of beer and bless Henry Rago. POETRY has accepted SIX of my poems!!!!!!!!!! Like we dreamed of." She relays Henry Rago's (editor of Poetry) reply to her, and runs through the list of poems accepted and rejected. The following page and a half is an extraordinary passage of writing capturing all her emotions - her love for Ted, the overwhelming excitement of the acceptance, and the pain of not being able to share her joy with him; "You, if only you were here. I don't know how I can keep still without exploding; I want to share everything with you --- rain, rejections, wine, money, acceptances, reading. God... But I am all for you, and you are that world in which I walk." Plath then turns to Ted's possessions that are still in her room at Newnham, connecting her to him, "amaze of amaze, your huge colossal leather coat is here... Your poems are here... Shall type all over many times." She closes the letter by asking Ted to thank his parents for having them stay over the summer, and talks longingly of life in Yorkshire, "how I miss the coal fires, the sherry and stories... and all the moors and valleys I tramped through." She signs off the letter, "I dont think I want to eat until I taste your lovely mouth again my very very enormous dear teddy how I love you... / your own wife, Sylvia, with her love".

An extraordinary love letter, being the first letter Sylvia Plath ever wrote to Ted Hughes, and marking their first separation since their marriage.
They had met earlier in the year, on 25th February, at a party to celebrate the inaugural issue of Saint Botolph's Review, a Cambridge poetry journal edited by David Ross, to which Hughes was a co-founder and principal contributor. Four months later they were married, and they spent the summer in Spain, France and Yorkshire. Come autumn, Plath had to return to her final year at Cambridge, while Hughes remained in Heptonstall, for they feared her Fulbright scholarship may be jeopardised by their marriage.
They had written for much of the summer, and Plath had returned to Cambridge with a renewed enthusiasm to secure places in American magazines for their poems and stories. Her excitement at receiving an acceptance letter from Henry Rago, editor of Poetry, was the culmination of the newly married Hugheses summer of writing together. The six accepted poems (Two Sisters Of Persephone, Metamorphosis, Wreath For A Bridal, Strumpet Song, Dream With Clam-Diggers, and Epitaph For Fire And Flower) appeared in issue 89 of Poetry, January 1957.
The profound intensity of Plath's longing for her new husband, even after only a day apart, is clear in her extraordinary stream of consciousness passage in the middle of the letter where all her thoughts, about stale food, vinegary wine, or tiresome college-mates all come back to Ted. The pain that is the companion of the longing is clear, and is something that swells over the following weeks and in their subsequent correspondence.
An exceptional encapsulation of Plath's early and intense love for Hughes, bound up with news of an important milestone in her poetic career.

PROVENANCE: Ted Hughes (1930 - 1998); Frieda Hughes (Hughes and Plath's daughter).

Stock ID: 41588

£50,000.00

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