It was offered at Sotheby’s (25/20/13.9% buyer’s premium) on July 12-19.
The inscription, in which she describes Hughes as the “source of my birthdays”, had a meaning that was deeply personal. He was a student of astrology and the couple took very seriously the meaning of dates and signs, so will undoubtedly have found significance in the appearance of Plath’s first volume so close to her birthday.
She even asked the publisher, Heinemann, if the original edition of 500 copies could be published on that very special day, but to avail – that is a Sunday, it was explained.
Along with the half-dozen complimentary copies that she received, Sylvia ordered a dozen or so more for distribution among her friends and family, but none compare in significance or resonance with this, the dedication copy.
A little spotted and browned internally, it also has one spread that reveals a pressed four-leaf clover, complete with resultant plant stain, but that surely just adds to the appeal of this very special copy.
Loosely inserted at the front of the book is an autograph poem titled ‘Frieda Rebecca’s Cup’ that is believed to be in the hand of Hughes’ mother, Edith.