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DL/A-Z//HUGHES O - [Correspondence with Olwyn Hughes]

Reference code
Level of description
[Correspondence with Olwyn Hughes]
Quantity & Format
3 Letters (typescript)
Personal name
Hughes, Ted
Plath, Sylvia
Stevenson, Anne
Hughes, Olwyn
Scope and content
001 is a letter from Olwyn Hughes to Doris Lessing, inviting her input into a biography of Sylvia Plath that she is assisting/guiding Anne Stevenson to write [Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia Plath]. Hughes praises the biography as recognising Plath's "real virtues (as opposed to the Letters-Homey ones) and real difficulties (always internal, aggravated by events)", and states that it will bring together the fractured elements of Plath's personality. She states that Plath suffered from "a sort of prison of the self" which prevented her from connecting with people "in Forster's sense", and describes her difficulties approaching people that she wanted to impress. She mentions that Plath met Lessing but that the meeting was "not a success". She states that she will keep the meeting out of Stevenson's biography, or minimise its details, or print what Lessing wants: "Just let me know what you want Doris and it will be as you want it." Lessing hand writes [referring to reply] "19.9.88".

002 is a letter from Hughes to Lessing, including a proposed insert regarding her meeting with Plath for Stevenson's biography. It mentions that Lessing perceived "incandescent desperation" in Plath, and ultimately that "she had not liked Sylvia".

003 is a letter from Lessing to Hughes, referring to her contribution to the biography. She goes back on one point, stating she doesn't want to say she "didn't like" Plath. She muses as about whether she did in fact like Plath, and concludes that "whatever she was or wasn't, it was obscured by this bright cloud of hysteria..."
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