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Proof copy of The Bell Jar found by student expected to fetch thousands

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Early version of Sylvia Plath novel, attributed to pseudonym Victoria Lucas, reveals last-minute changes to text

In a literary version of Cash in the Attic, a rare proof edition of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar which has sat on a spare room bookshelf for the last quarter of a century, is due to be auctioned in London next month.

The uncorrected proof copy of Plath’s only novel, a semi-autobiographical account of a young woman’s spiral into depression in New York, states that it is “not for sale”. The 1962 proof is attributed to “Victoria Lucas”, the pseudonym under which The Bell Jar was published in 1963, shortly before Plath’s suicide aged 30. It would not appear under Plath’s own name until 1966.

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