UVic acquires rare copy of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar
Book was owned by Plath's husband, has hand-drawn sketches by her daughter, an artist and writer
The University of Victoria has acquired a very rare second printing of the first edition of The Bell Jar, the only novel written by American poet Sylvia Plath.
The book tells of the main character's growing mental illness, and is considered semi-autobiographical, because Plath took her own life after falling into depression a month after writing it.
UVic archivist and director of special collections Lara Wilson told All Points West host Robyn Burns that owning the book is important for scholarship at the school.
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"We have classes with undergraduate and graduate students who are learning more about the materiality of the book and the history of the book," she said.
"So they do creative research and they analyze the material in front of them for its insights into publishing, authorship and people's relationships with material."
UVic says the "exceptionally unique" volume was published under Plath's pen name, Victoria Lucas.
This particular copy was originally owned by Plath's then-husband, former British poet laureate Ted Hughes, the school says, and features sketches that mask damage to the cover, which were hand-drawn by Plath's daughter, Frieda Hughes, an artist and writer herself.
The book cost the school $8,500 US to purchase and it will be kept in the vault of the UVic library's special collections and archive section.
Wilson says the public can view it in the library's reading room.
With files from CBC Radio One's All Points West
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