Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction, Yiddish Literature, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality historical novels are some of my Literary Interests

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Ted Hughes The Unauthorized Biography by Jonathan Bate (2015)

Born August 17, 1930, died October 28, 1998- U. K.

Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom December 28, 1984 to death

Married Sylvia Plath June 16, 1956 to February 11, 1963 

Ted Hughes The Unauthorized Biography by Jonathan Bate is one of the best literary biographies I have so far read.  I think in the broader culture he is probably best known as the husband of Sylvia Plath.  Her suicide became a dominating event in his subsequent Life history.  

As of this moment I am dealing with a painful strength depleting lingering illness.  Ordinarily I would try to do a post worthy of this great book about a greater poet.  Hughes was a larger than life figure, two women in his life killed themselves as did his oldest son.  He was deeply into the reading life, a good friend of Seamus Heaney, close to the Queen of England.  He was a man of great depth.  Bate quotes generously from his poetry.  Hughes left an archive of over 100,000 pages.  He loved fishing, nature, farming, Ovid and Shakespeare.  He loved women and the feeling was reciprocated.  Bate takes us far into the world of Hughes.  We see him as a father, a husband, a teacher, a reader, a business man managing the estate of Sylvia Plath, and a friend.  We see him struggle to write and continually revising his work.  He created some of the most powerful poetry of the English language.

I am very glad I read this book.

Mel u


Mudpuddle said...

but.... why did those who knew him best commit suicide? something wicked this way comes...? hope you're feeling better soon....

Mel u said...

Mudpuddle. It seems more he was drawn to those in emotional pain, he responded to their darkness rather than drove them to suicide. Hughes was greatly castigated as causing the suicide of Plath by being an unfaithful husband. Thanks for your well wishes

Mudpuddle said...

oh.... that makes sense; still, it's odd that he would be drawn to that sort of person... or maybe not?