08 May 2013

Sylvia Plath Manuscripts at Bonhams

Bonhams London on New Bond Street held "The Roy Davids Collection. Part III. Poetry: Poetical Manuscripts and Portraits of Poets. Second Session (L-Y)" today (see video with commentary). In the auction were four lots of Plath material and Plath-related material. I've been tracking the lots since the auction started and the space between updates and hitting refresh felt interminable. Here are the results:

Lot 332: MODERN POETS: ELIOT, AUDEN, HUGHES, SPENDER and MACNEICE: PORTRAITS OF T.S. ELIOT, W.H. AUDEN, TED HUGHES, STEPHEN SPENDER AND LOUIS MCNEICE TOGETHER BY MARK GERSON (b. 1921), vintage photograph, silver print, showing the 'Faber Poets' on the stairs at Faber and Faber, 24 Russell Square, signed in pencil on the mount by Gerson and with his stamp on the verso, framed and glazed, size of image 7 ½ x 9 ½ inches (19 x 24 cm), overall size 16 x 17 inches (41 x 43.5 cm), Faber's, 23 June 1960. Estimate: £3,000 - 3,500; US$ 4,700 - 5,400; €3,600 - 4,100. This lot did not sell.

Lot 372: PLATH, SYLVIA (1932-1963)] and TED HUGHES (1930-1998): THE COMPLETE WORKING PAPERS FOR THE FIRST VERSION OF TED HUGHES'S ESSAY ABOUT SYLVIA PLATH'S POEM, 'THE EVOLUTION OF SHEEP IN FOG,' 1988. Estimate: £4,500 - 5,000; US$ 7,000 - 7,800; €5,300 - 5,900. This lot sold for £9,999; US$ 15,525; €11,845.

Lot 373: THE COMPLETE WORKING PAPERS FOR HER KEY POEM 'SHEEP IN FOG': c. 75 lines in her handwriting, comprising autograph and typescript drafts and a typed completed version (15 lines), all but the first two separately dated and most of the typescripts with her name and address typed by her in the top right-hand corner, with extensive autograph deletions and revisions preserving numerous reconsidered readings; on three of the versos are typescripts, two with autograph revisions [from 'A Poem for Three Voices'], the other from a short story (character: Alison), the drafts for 'Sheep in Fog': 7 pages, large quarto, 23 Fitzroy Road, London NW1, 2 December 1962 and 'Revised 28 January 1963'. Estimate: £30,000 - 35,000; US$ 47,000 - 54,000; €36,000 - 41,000. This lot sold for £37,249; US$ 57,834; €44,124.

Lot 374: PLATH, SYLIVA (1932-1963) and TED HUGHES (1930-1998): AUTOGRAPH REVISED POETICAL DRAFTS BY EACH OF THEM ON THE SAME SHEET OF PAPER, ALSO WITH A TYPED POEM BY SYLVIA PLATH, [1961]. This lot contains a verse from Plath's poem "I am vertical" on the recto; and the verso features lines from a poem in Hughes' hand called "Endless". Estimate: £6,000 - 8,000; US$ 9,300 - 12,000; €7,100 - 9,500. This lot sold for £18,749; US$ 29,111; €22,210.

All links accessed on 8 May 2013.


suki said...

Somebody is lucky!
If you got the MS with both Plath & Hughes' poems which side would you look at?

Peter K Steinberg said...

This might come as a surprise to some, but I'd probably look at the Plath side.


Anonymous said...

Hello Peter,

Don't know if you seen this yet - Plath's annotated copy of Lord Jim is on sale. Start saving!


Will write soon!

Peter K Steinberg said...


I hadn't seen that. Thank you for alerting me/us. Very interesting.

I look forward to hearing from you soon, too!


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