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Ted Hughes: The Life of a Poet Paperback – 17 Feb 2003
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'This is an admirable book, fond but fair; hard to believe it could be bettered any time soon' (The Times)
'It is a story full of fascination, told with judicious candour' (The Independent) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The first biography of the former Poet Laureate, famous for his marriage to Sylvia Plath, the subject of his bestseller, Birthday Letters, which has sold over 100,000 copies. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
It could possibly be argued that Feinstein allows too much sentiment, from her longstanding friendship with Hughes, to affect what she is willing to write about him, something which comes across especially clearly when she is describing his multiple long-running affairs in the 1970s without mentioning the feelings of his second wife or how his behaviour affected her. Still, unlike in some reviews I have read, I didn't think that Sylvia Plath was unfairly pilloried, but that Feinstein had gone to great trouble to present a clear picture of the complicated relationship between two complex, incredibly talented people, while also showing that Hughes came out of his relationship with Plath almost as damaged as she had been.
Furthermore, Feinstein also points up the great integrity that compelled Hughes to publish Plath's Ariel poems after her death purely because he saw in them the strength of Plath's genius, despite the fact that they presented him in a harsh, unforgiving, and entirely unfair light, and Plath's use of some of their most difficult private moments as material for her work left Hughes feeling profoundly betrayed.Read more ›
All the same, Hughes for much of the book remains a somewhat shadowy figure - there is little in the text that brings alive his charisma, sense of personal warmth and fun, and sheer energy. Although she was a friend of Ted and his sister Olwyn, I think Feinstein may have brought this book out as an unauthorized biography - this might explain the bizarre fact that Ted's second wife Carol hardly gets a mention, that there's very little about his children after the death of their mother and that we get little idea of what Ted was like as a husband or a father. Although Feinstein does talk quite a bit about Hughes's poetry, she concentrates largely on the darker and larger-scale poems: there's little about his marvellous work as a translator (cited by many academics as some of the greatest in the business), about his playful creation myths or his occasional foray into the short story.Read more ›
The account of Hughes's relationship with Sylvia Plath is written with good measure and is generally objective (as is perhaps the most successful approach for discussing such a controversial and volatile relationship). Overall, however, Feinstein is largely sympathetic towards Hughes on the issue of Plath's depression and eventual suicide, although Plath herself is painted as a difficult character, to the point of being unreasonable.
As Hughes was such a prolific poet with an eventful life, this is a surprisingly short biography (the main text comprises 244 pages) and so Hughes's personal character remains rather enigmatic although the events and relationships that inspired and compelled him in his work are well documented. The richness of details and quality of writing make this an engaging and thought-provoking biographical account that will sit well on the shelf alongside Hughes's Collected Poems.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I first became aware of Sylvia Plath when I was about eighteen and briefly dated a disturbed older woman who later committed suicide. Read morePublished on 21 Nov. 2014 by A.J.Bradley
To my knowledge there are not many biographies of this poet which made this book fascinating and absorbing - well worth the readPublished on 8 Nov. 2014 by Caroline Tyler
Book is very informative and arrived in pristine condition. Thank youPublished on 7 Nov. 2014 by Brigitte
First published in 2001, three years after Hughes's death, this biography is written by a fellow poet, and one who shared the same literary agent as Hughes (his sister Olwyn). Read morePublished on 3 Sept. 2013 by Dr Do Little
Controversial but very informative. Tells you a lot about his early years and attempts to unravel some of the years with Plath.Published on 12 May 2013 by Amazon Customer
I have been writing poems since my teens. I am now in my mid-50s. This year I am self-publishing a book of my poems on a print-to-order basis. Read morePublished on 31 Jan. 2012 by Kevin Bell
Feinstein researched her subjects well, bringing in her own analysis of his poems, interviews with friends, fellow students, other poets and family friends. Read morePublished on 23 Aug. 2011 by RR Waller
I picked up this book after reading the death and life of Sylvia Plath. The Plath book was a one sided story which painted Ted Hughes in an abhorrant light. Read morePublished on 28 Feb. 2011 by C. S. Bancroft