Typed Letter Signed, to Ted Hughes

PLATH, Sylvia

it is beautiful writing; it is the writing of a genius and a teddy-ponk

PLATH, Sylvia Typed Letter Signed, to Ted Hughes

1956.

An exceptional literary letter from Sylvia Plath to Ted Hughes. Four sides of blue letter paper (two sheets, folded horizontally, approximately 1,200 words) signed "your own sylvia" with a five-line autograph postscript. Plath opens with the news that Mademoiselle had rejected three of her stories, "I knew it would come, but some small foolhardy little part of me didn't know it for sure and was sorry and depressed." Nevertheless, Plath resolves to use the rejection to make her work harder, to "build up a kind of defiant high-pressure resentment and maybe fight harder; better than getting a too-easy acceptance and then relaxing". She writes of her joy at receiving Ted's letters, "how I love your letters. picture me sitting at the head of the long table in whitstead dining room, immersed in reading and re-reading your words... it is beautiful writing; it is the writing of a genius and a teddy-ponk". Plath then outlines her plans and feelings for the day - finishing a paper on Augustine, but "I shall probably be compelled to write a poem in the old procrastinator's tradition. I don't like today; not at all; I felt depressed, too, last night". Plath then turns to their literary endeavours, encouraging Ted's work on a new play and a long worked on children's story called "Snatchcraftington". Plath's idea was to "find an audience in the course of a year" for the children's animal fables, and then offer out this story. Both were still waiting on magazines for acceptances, and Plath reflects that "of only one of my 4 stories and your children's fables would be accepted now. I get much sadder about prose returns than poetry, somehow." The magazine Nimbus has asked Hughes to submit some poems to them, which leads Plath to critique Auden's 'The Epigoni' and 'Merax and Mullin' which had recently appeared in those pages, "there was such an unpleasant nastiness to them; like grinding metal; if someone would print these poems in paragraph form, I think it might embarrass the hell out of the 'poet', because it's atrocious prose". She then retells some strange but pleasant dreams she has recently experienced, "as if my story about dreams in part exorcised my worry about bad dreams". In the first "a lovely, rich one, brightly coloured", she and Hughes find "a patch of huge green four leaf clovers". Later in the dream, she is composing a sonnet by the riverside, but "with the casual cocksureness of dreams, didn't bother to memorize it when I was writing, but knew it had the words "luminous vein" in it and was indeed a very luminous poem". Plath is pleased that she "shouldn't worry about my nights anymore", and signs with an autograph postscript, "love you, every bit of you, and kiss your damn london-gone mouth and love you - please go on writing - I love your letters - your own sylvia".

A vivid snapshot of Plath juggling her creative and academic work with her depressive states and the struggles of solitude.
She had been submitting stories and poems on both of their behalves to American magazines since May but had been particularly industrious since September in offering work. The rejection by Mademoiselle of her three stories obviously hurt, but the previous week she had described these as "incredibly dull", and in any case she felt that her prose work was continuing to improve.
Plath had been wrestling with Augustine in recent tutorials with Dr Krook, but her plans to complete her paper on The City Of God that afternoon did not come to fruition, not completing the 13-pager until 2am. Ted's work continued to be a focus too, and she was pleased that Nimbus magazine had asked him to contribute, even if she didn't approve of Auden's recent contributions.
Sylvia's dreams were a source of fascination for Ted, who encouraged her to record them and report them to him. Replying to this most recent account, he wrote, "What's happened to your dreams? Probably now you've started writing all that out, you have - as you say - exorcised it, or at least got it under control. Perhaps it's been pushing and glooming your imagination for long enough But if you keep up a detailed and vivid looking at things, your dreams will go on improving" (18 October 1956).

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

Stock ID: 41597

£45,000.00

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