THE MUMMY'S TOMB - AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT

Plath, Sylvia

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Price: $17,500.00


Place Published: [Wellesley, MA
Publisher: S.i.]
Date Published: 1946
Book Id: 2232

Description

Four-page autograph manuscript, written in pencil on two leaves (recto and verso) measuring 8.5" x 11". Headed at upper margin of first leaf: "The Mummy's Tomb / by Sylvia Plath / May 17, 1946." Faint horizontal fold at center of each leaf, with occasional light pencil-smudging, else very well preserved. Housed in a custom crimson half-leather clamshell case.

Comments

Autograph manuscript of Plath's early story 'The Mummy's Tomb,' written at age 13 while she attended Alice L. Phillips Junior High School in Wellesley, MA. An early flash of the author's storytelling brilliance, discussed by Andrew Wilson in his study of Plath's early work: "In February (1946) she started to keep a dream book, noting down her night-time visions of escape...More often than not she suffered from grotesque nightmares: the bad dreams continued all year - visions of dead bodies, of murder, of unspeakable atrocities. In May...she started to write a three-page murder mystery called 'The Mummy's Tomb' about a young girl who is fascinated by ancient Egypt and who one day goes to a museum to do a spot of research. There, she notices the stench of decomposing flesh coming from one of the mummy cases and sees a suspicious-looking janitor. On her return the next day, she witnesses the white-haired janitor preparing to remove the eyes from one of his female victims. The killer spots her and comes towards her, declaiming the unspeakable tortures that he will inflict upon her, but the girl strikes him with her umbrella, ties him up, frees the woman he was about to kill and, at the end, learnes she will receive a reward for the rescue. Gothic stories such as 'The Mummy's Tomb' gave the young Plath an outlet through which she could express some of the toxic feelings that, at the time, astonished and frightened her" (see: Mad Girl's Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Her Life Before Ted, 2013). Another manuscript of the story is held with Plath's papers at the Lilly Library (3pp, typed, with cover sheet - Plath MSS II, Box 8, f.15), though it would appear this one precedes. A curious work of genre fiction, unpublished. Provenance: From the author's estate (cf. Sotheby's, New York, 2 December, 2014 and 6 April, 1982).


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