"[The] biography that needed to be written, an attempt to set the record straight and clear the air."? The New York Times Book Review Although Ted Hughes ended his days as England's beloved poet laureate, his life was dogged by tragedy and controversy. He never entirely recovered from the suicide of his wife Sylvia Plath in 1963, for which many have held his adultery responsible. In this insightful biography, the first written since Hughes's death, Elaine Feinstein explores an altogether more complex situation, throwing new light on his relationship with his lover Assia Wevill, who later killed herself along with their young daughter. 12 b/w photographs.
Elaine Feinstein was born in Liverpool,educated in Leicester, and won an Exhibition to read English at Newnham College, Cambridge. She went up in 1949, only a year after the first women were admitted to full membership of the University. She returned to Cambridge with her husband, the molecular biologist Arnold Feinstein, in 1956, and they and their three sons lived in the centre of that city for more than a quarter of century. Writers ---including Yevtushenko, Holub, Allen Ginsberg Joseph Brodsky and Ted Hughes--- visited them there. Feinstein lectured at the University of Essex, wrote for The Times, The Guardian, and other papers. In 1973 she became a full-time writer, and in 1981 she was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
As a poet, she began to write under the influence of Ezra Pound, but soon developed a passion for the Russian poets of the last century. Her versions of the poems of Marina Tsvetaeva , first published in 1971 , were a New York Times Book of the Year , and extended in Bride of Ice (Carcanet, 2010) . Her own poems have been widely anthologized and translated, and she has been invited to read them at Festivals across the world. Her Collected Poems and Translations (2002) was a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. In 1990, she received a Cholmondeley Award for Poetry, and was given an Honorary D.Litt from the University of Leicester .
Her first novel, The Circle (1970) was long listed for the 'lost' Man Booker prize in 2010. Her most recent, The Russian Jerusalem won a major Arts Council Award. Ted Hughes: The Life of a Poet (2001) was shortlisted for the biennial Marsh Biography Prize; and Anna of all the Russias , the Life of Anna Akhmatova (2005) has been translated into twelve languages, including Russian.
Elaine Feinstein has served on the Council of the Royal Society of Literature and as a judge for the Gregory Awards, the Independent Foreign Fiction Award, the Costa Poetry Prize and in 1995 was chairman of the judges for the T.S. Eliot Prize.
In 2005 she was awarded a Civil List pension in recognition of her services to Literature