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Letters of Ted Hughes Paperback – 5 Nov 2009
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"'This is a book, like the letters of Keats, which will be read in 200 years' time.' Philip Hensher, Spectator 'This year's most surprising and rewarding book.' Blake Morrison, Guardian 'Reid's succinct annotation allows the full, unique personality to blaze out unimpeded, and the result is magnificent.' John Carey, Sunday Times"
The Letters of Ted Hughes, selected and edited by Christopher Reid, begins when Hughes was seventeen, and documents a life at once resolutely private but intensely attuned to other lives, and to the world we live and communicate in.See all Product description
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I've given 4 stars so as not to throw average ratings off for the actual content, as I am only here warning about editions.
This is a very well-edited collection of his wide-ranging letters and the editors have done a great service to his memory by showing these sides of him. Collecting, sifting and arranging such a large group of his letters must have been a monumental task of Herculean proportions but one they achieved with great skill.
A must for anyone interested in Ted Hughes.
Stephanie Zia author of
Ten Good Reasons To Lie About Your Age (Romantic Comedy)
If, on the other hand, you are aware of TH as a poet, there is much here to fascinate and enjoy. Throughout his life he corresponded with a large number of people. There are letters here to his own relatives, to his children Frieda and Nicholas (both as children and as adults), to several great friends whom he met in the 1950s in Cambridge and, yes, there are some love-letters (one is given to understand they are not ALL here. And why should they be ? We don't OWN the man.) There are also letters, as one would expect, to other literary figures : Seamus Heaney, Thom Gunn, Yehuda Amichai the Israeli poet who Ted Hughes befriended in the Sixties and whose work he promoted. The picture that emerges is of a deeply intelligent and well-read individual who thought much on subjects such as the environment (before it was a la mode), shamanism, the role of education, the importance of Shakespeare,etc. etc. He worked closely with several Eastern European poets-Holub, Popa, Pilinszky, Csokits, Herbert-at a time when these literatures were scarcely known in Britain. And he was passionately committed to the young, very encouraging, never patronizing. Receiving a letter from him must have been an experience.
These letters are worth reading and then re-reading .They don't give one the feeling that one is prying into someone's dirty laundry. They are not heavily edited. Though some of them are heartbroken and some of them are angry, they do not present a picture of a victim. Or of someone who deserves to be vilified. The vilifiers will no doubt continue their vilifying. Let 'em. These letters will carry on shining.
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