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Letters Home [Olwyn Hughes' Galley Proof]

 
Letters Home [Olwyn Hughes' Galley Proof] by PLATH, Sylvia; Aurelia Schober Plath (1975)

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Author: PLATH, Sylvia; Aurelia Schober Plath
Title: Letters Home [Olwyn Hughes' Galley Proof]
 
Year: 1975
Publisher: Harper and Row
Place: New York
Dust Jacket: No
Signed: No
 
Price: £1750
 
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pp 438 Olwyn Hughes' bound galley proof of the first publication of her sister in law Sylvia Plath's letters, annotated by Sylvia Plath's daughter, Frieda Hughes. In addition to Frieda Hughes' annotations this early version of the galley proof contains at least three preliminary drafts of Aurelia's editorial commentary to be subsequently removed or published in revised form as the two sides of Plath's family battled it out over her posthumous reputation.

Tall octavo galley proof format, bound in soiled green wrappers, heavily read text, ink stain to foreedge; this text reproduces numerous earlier handwritten corrections probably made by the book's editor at Harper and Row. The three most significant passages to be published here which were revised or disappeared from later issues of the proofs and in due course from the printed text are contained in Aurelia Plath's acknowledgments regarding Ted and Olwyn Hughes which passage was entirely rewritten to remove Olwyn's name; at page 426 where Aurelia Plath discusses in her commentary her daughter's hurtful use for her novel The Bell Jar of the 'pseudonym Victoria Lucas... Those who had sacrificed for her, served and loved her were to be hurt and would consider themselves betrayed' (later excised) and at p 407: 'Ted Hughes says that he borrowed money from his family when he left and between September and early February gave her over £900' - also excised from later issue proofs and the printed text. Olwyn Hughes does not appear to have annotated the proof although Plath's bibliographer Stephen Tabor discusses at some length Olwywn and Ted Hughes' intimate involvement in the publication of this work (pp43-4). Frieda Hughes' annotations to the text are in green felt tip pen and in red biro and are mostly marginal lines (eg pp 231, 380, 386-7) most of which which refer to Sylvia Plath's allusions to her stories and themselves correlate with a manuscript index of page numbers in Frieda's hand which is written inside the rear cover and a further verbal annotation on the back cover in brown ink: 'more details about people frequently mentioned and abruptly dropped in her letters... [gives example at Cambridge] And say who people are, their background.' A fascinating document with excellent provenance from Frieda Hughes' sale of 'my personal family items' at Bonhams, London (21 March, 2018) which she described in the catalogue as 'redolent of my parents' joint history... the books and the pamphlets and the poems signed by my mother and father, represented important aspects of their literary lives and were evidence of their powerful partnership.'
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