A rare, uncorrected proof of Sylvia Plath’s classic The Bell Jar is going up for auction in England. The auction will take place June 24, which gives interested parties less than a month to scrape together the expected price of $3,000-$4,600.
The byline on this edition is “Victoria Lucas,” Plath’s pseudonym, under which the book was first published in England. According to Bonhams auction house, there were approximately 70 changes made between this edition and the published version. Bonhams quotes scholar Peter K. Steinberg, who argues: “This shows that Plath read her proofs of The Bell Jar very carefully and extends our understanding of her involvement in the creative process beyond the composition of the work itself.”
This proof, the Los Angeles Times reports, was found by a caterer, who bought it in 1985 for a class. She explains on her blog, “For no reason, a few weeks ago whilst idly browsing eBay, I thought ‘I wonder if anyone else has one of those weird Bell Jar books for sale?’ and searched for it. Nothing on eBay, so I Googled it.” She found that there were eight editions known to exist, making the book extremely rare.