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Ted and I: A Brother's Memoir

Ted and I: A Brother's Memoir [Kindle Edition]

Gerald Hughes
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Gerald Hughes's memoir of his little brother, Ted, has a muted, soul-swelling intensity, and the kind of holiness that requires no mention of God. Talitha Stevenson, The Observer Those biographers looking for insights into the poet s life will find in it gold dust for their first few chapters. John Sutherland, The Sunday Times "Here, his elder brother, Gerald, offers a quieter perspective with this lovely memoir of a childhood and a closeness that survived Gerald's move to Australia." Metro "His (Hughes's) poems drew deeply on his relationships with his family and the natural world around him, and in this genial and touching memoir Hughes's older brother Gerald shares his own memoires of their childhood in Yorkshire, roaming the woods and fields around their home in Mytholmroyd near Hebden Bridge and later in the larger mining town of Mexborough." Financial Times --The Sunday Times

Product Description

On 17 August 1930, nine-year-old Gerald Hughes was introduced to his new baby brother, Ted, born in the middle of the night by the light of a bright star. From the moment Ted could toddle, they were inseparable, with Ted following his older brother everywhere: roaming the Yorkshire countryside, camping, making fires, pitching tents, hunting rabbits, rats, wood pigeon and stoats, flying kites, building model planes, fishing. All these adventures were to fuel the future Poet Laureate’s fascination with wildlife and the countryside, many of his finest poems having their roots in these early experiences. Those carefree, magical days are beautifully recalled in these pages, along with delightful portraits of the close-knit family Hughes – Mam, Dad, grandparents and a host of colourful aunts and uncles. Although their paths were to diverge – Gerald joining the air force as an engineer when war broke out and subsequently moving to Australia, Ted going to Cambridge, where he published his first poems and met Sylvia Plath – they remained close to the last. Through his visits to England and their frank and regular correspondence, Gerald was privy to the vicissitudes of his brother’s life – the traumatic lows, the triumphant highs – and he writes about these later times also, drawing on Ted’s letters and on Sylvia’s, some hitherto unpublished, as well as on the recollections of their sister Olwyn and of Ted’s widow Carol. Gerald Hughes’ poignant and delightful memoir is further enriched by a touching foreword by Frieda Hughes, Ted and Sylvia’s daughter, as well as by the author’s own sketches, and by a wealth of family photos, many of which have never been seen before.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4275 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Robson Press, The (4 Oct 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #380,414 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ted & I 1 Dec 2012
By Amanda Jenkinson TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Books about Ted Hughes are certainly not in short supply, but this memoir by his older brother Gerald has a particular charm. We have rarely heard from family members up to now, and this short book of reminiscences, while offering few new insights and certainly no shocking or surprising revelations, does in fact show us another side of Ted Hughes, that of the adoring little boy always looking up to and being taught and guided by his older brother. Much of his interest in, and knowledge of, nature and the countryside, which became such an integral part of his work, was inspired and fostered by Gerald, who regularly shared his own knowledge with his little brother.
In 3 parts - Childhood, The War Years, and Keeping in Touch - the memoir is as much about Gerald Hughes as it is about Ted, and chronicles the early years in Yorkshire up to Ted's death in 1998. Gerald himself emigrated to Australia after the war, and if Ted hadn't met Sylvia Plath at Cambridge it is quite like that he would have joined Gerald - a fact that gives plenty of scope to the "what if" school of literary theory! Ted in fact always hoped that Gerald would return to England so that they could farm together and once said that if Gerald only lived nearby "My life would not be half as crazy." But Gerald had built a new and successful life in Australia and the brothers only rarely managed to see each other. Nevertheless the bond between them remained strong, and this is a gentle and affectionate memoir, told with dignity and tact, and with many photos and examples of Gerald's own art work. A very enjoyable read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ted and I 16 Nov 2012
By L Kirk
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A lovely, insightful memoir. The book not only decribes the beauty of the Yorkshire landscape and life during a time when childhood was filled with innocence and imagination, it also offers a further dimension to Ted Hughes' life through the eyes of a loving brother. A wonderful story and a book I will cherish.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful memoir 11 Nov 2012
By Henners
I first started reading Ted Hughes' poetry, and anything I could find about his life, more than 20 years ago. I've always thought of him as something of an enigma. He was clearly nothing like the character certain rather ignorant feminists wanted to paint, but much seemed hidden, partly because he was such a private man.

This still remains true (though maybe a forthcoming biography will shed more light). But over the decades there has been this steady flow of treasures that have shed more light on this extraordinary man. Even in his own collections there were some poems in Wolfwatching, and then of course Birthday Letters, such a contrast with what had been written about Sylvia Plath before. One of my favourite books of all has to be Hughes' selected letters. But this memoir from his brother has to be an almost equal delight for Hughes fans.

There were plenty of signs - for example in 'Poetry in the Making' - that early Ted's relationship with his (ten years older) brother Gerald was an important part of his imaginative and personal life. Now we have this profoundly dignified and moving tribute from Gerald himself, still alive. It brings Ted alive again from the point of view of one of the most important people in his life, that we've heard little about thus far.

I don't know if it's my imagination but I can occasionally hear a similarity, in the turn of phrase, to some of Ted's more informal writings. This may have been there since they were both young...

Gerald himself also had a fascinating life, from his experiences growing up in the 20s and 30s, his time in the war, and then moving to Australia. From a selfish point of view, I could read as many reminiscences as he could remember. But anyone familiar with Hughes' life will know how little respect has been shown for the family's privacy already.

It's a great book, a joy.
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Format:Kindle Edition
I read 'Ted and I' over the holiday. Well done! Just exactly the kind of gentle read, honest and true, which one should embark on over Christmas. And all the time, knowing what was to come, one could not help but see the import of the developing relationship between child and nature and the innocent force of first feelings as the initial charge of his poetry. Rejected by his publisher, Faber, apparently, this book will I suggest be a source at least as important as the menacing biographies so far published about our greatest 20th-century poet. Here is the jaguar, the pike, etc, etc. Here is the embryo spirit of the man who was surely our most fitting laureate.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ted nad I: A Brother's Memoir 11 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found it moving but did not learn anything new about Ted. He and his brother did spend many years apart.
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