Typed Letter Signed, to Ted Hughes

PLATH, Sylvia

I'll stick to Yeats and you, thanks

PLATH, Sylvia Typed Letter Signed, to Ted Hughes

1956.

A reflective letter from Sylvia Plath to Ted Hughes, on Cambridge and their literary progress. Four sides of Newnham College letter paper (two sheets, folded horizontally, approximately 1,000 words) signed "your sylvia" with a four line autograph postscript. Plath is writing following her Thursday morning tutorial with Dr Krook, "having, miraculously, as usual, completed in the small hours of 2am or so a 13 page paper outlining the uniqueness & chief tenets of the christian gospel." Her paper, she writes, particularly objected to the Christian view of the origin of evil, "god's foreknowledge and man's free will, and the low, debased view of physical love between man and women even in 'blameless wedlock'". Plath is still taken with her tutor in the "lovely dr krook", who she sees as "my one woman friend, here; she is the kind of teacher I would slave to be and these next two terms should be deeply rewarding just for what I can learn of lecturing and discussion-leading from her". She contrasts this friendship to the difficulty she has spending time with college-mates whom she is accompanying to the Union. She takes particular exception to "vehement catholics; narrow, secure, and incredibly pious", and as a result, she writes "so I walk alone. and I really am all right." She shares the news of her story 'The Day Mr Prescott Died' being accepted by Granta with little thrill ("it seems slight to me now"), and "all else is quiet as death; in a week from the day after tomorrow I shall be seeing you again." Plath then turns to their future living arrangements, sharing Dr Krook's suggestion that Ted might teach locally at the American Army Base, but is resolved that he will probably head to Spain as planned, "Spain is probably best. I would almost rather be either fully with you for a long period and fully away while I must work, than be torn when with you by knowing I must leave in a day, and torn when away by counting the days till I return." Plath is more excited by the prospects for Ted's children's fables, which she continues to edit and type for submission to the Atlantic, while awaiting a decision on them from the children's program at the BBC, "I would fly up with joy if your children's fables---any or all---get accepted by the BBC." Her other editorial and agency enterprises on his behalf are also represented by asking for a copy of Hughes's 'Egg-Head', "so I can make copies of them to keep on eternal file". She closes by dismissing the work of Peter Redgrove and John Crowe Ransome, in spite of their praise of Ted's work, "I'll stick to Yeats and you, thanks", before signing with a four line autograph postscript, "Take care, eat steak, and I kiss and kiss your mouth and all over in crannies & nooks my dear lovely own teddy - your sylvia".

This letter shows Plath more immersed in Cambridge life, especially thanks to Dorothea Krook (1920-1989) her supervisor and favourite teacher at Cambridge.
Krook later recalled Plath as "one of the most deeply, movingly responsive pupils I had ever had. I felt the things I said, we said, her authors said, mattered to her in an intimate way, answering to intense personal needs, reaching to depths of her spirit." (Clark, Red Comet, p.442). In this letter Plath calls her "my one woman friend, here", in contrast with her peers who are condemned as artificial extroverts or pious, vehement Catholics.
She passes on the news that the university magazine Granta will publish her story 'The Day Mr Prescott Died', which was based on the death of a close friend's father in 1954, but the story "seems slight to me now".
She is much more excited about Hughes's submission of a group of children's fables, which she is typing up for submission to The Atlantic, although she bridles against the publisher's strictures against depicting gods in the stories. Sylvia was a great champion of Ted's animal fables, though they would not be published until after her death, when Faber issued them as How The Whale Became (1963).

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

Stock ID: 41598

£35,000.00

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