Coyne, James, photo. 7 7/8 x 7 3/4 in. Unseen photo, with long note to Hughes’ parents. Slight (2mm) mark to top left corner, slight yellowing. Verso with a crease that doesn't transfer to the image, and a few spots of soiling, as well as the following stamps: “Credit James Coyne from BLACK STAR, 305 East 47th St., New York” (stamped in black); “Not to be reproduced without permission of MADEMOISELLE, 575 Madison Avenue, New York 22, N.Y.” (stamped in green ink) Item #325064
Unknown outtake from a session taken by James Coyne for "Four Young Poets" (Corrine Robins, Mademoiselle, January 1959), which featured the couple's life in Boston, and reproduced Plath's poem "The Times are Tidy" and Hughes' poem "Pennies in April." While the article mentions Hughes' recent success with the publication of his first book, The Hawk in the Rain, the real focus of the article is Mademoiselle alumni Plath, who had won the magazine's fiction contest and worked as a guest editor in the summer of 1953, which she later fictionalized in The Bell Jar. "Returning from an English education with a handsome poet husband, Plath was the embodiment of Mademoiselle's dreams and ambitions." (Brennan, The Poetry of Sylvia Plath, 2001)
Plath and Hughes met at a party in Cambridge, England in February 1956 and married four months later on Bloomsday. The next year they settled in Massachusetts so that Plath could teach at her alma mater, Smith, and Hughes at UMass Amherst. After seeing Hughes walking with a Smith undergraduate, Plath began to doubt Hughes' faithfulness and despair of her teaching, so the couple moved to a two-room apartment at 8 Willow Street in Beacon Hill in Boston – "to live and write" – where this picture was taken.
We can locate three images from this session, one in the published article, and two in the Plath Collection at Smith. This is the fourth we've seen.
Unrecorded in Plath's published letters, the message in full reads:
"Dear ted's mom & dad –
Hello! I hope these two snapshots reach you in time for new years – they are extras left over from an article about ted & me which is coming out in the January issue of Mademoiselle magazine here – an article with one picture of us, a little poem by each of us, and a bit of talk about how we live – we'll send you the clippings when it comes out. We loved your long letter which came today with the clipping of ted's Thrushes poem.
All the snow here has melted & it is blue skied as spring – not very "Christmassy", but pleasant –
Happy New Year to you all –
This is our living room – not so bare. If you could see the colors – dark green walls, a light sofa & sparkly white curtains & warm reddish woods – too bad you cant see the view – but we'll take some snaps of it for you."
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