Written in 1980, it covers Hughes' writing in the following chapters:
Origins: "the Anglo-Saxon-Norse-Celtic language and deeper roots";
Poetics:"the volcanic uncontrollable outbursts of his imagination";
Beginnings: a study of his early life and "more traditional" poems;
Towards "Crow": "Broken wings and descent, suffering and disintegration, animals transmogrified";
"Crow": "to produce something with the minimum cultural accretions";
Gaudette: The worldy Lumb.
These critical sections are followed by a generous collection of Ted Hughes' own critical writing and two interviews the author had with Hughes, one on "Crow", the other on "Gaudette".
Although I have tended to lean towards Keith Sagar or Anne Skea, both highly skilled critics with a vast knowledge of Hughes' works (as the works were written and often before publication in Sagar's case) and an intimate acquaintance of Hughes himself, Faas charts Hughes' "evolution into a 'primitive, gnomic spellmaker' (which) meant a simultaneous change in the language and structure of his poetry".
Well-researched, thoughtful and detailed with the added benefits of two interviews not quoted elsewhere on two of the difficult Hughes' works, it makes an interesting addition to the Hughes / Plath shelf.
Recommended and becoming very difficult to find.