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Letters of Ted Hughes Hardcover – November 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


“No other English poet's letters, not even Keats's, unparalleled as they are, take us so intimately into the wellsprings of his own art.” ―JOHN CAREY, The Sunday Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Christopher Reid has written a number of poetry books, including For and After (2003) and Mr Mouth (2006). From 1991 to 1999, he was Poetry Editor at Faber and Faber, working with Ted Hughes on such books as Tales from Ovid and Birthday Letters. In 2007, he was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Hull.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571221386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571221387
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,857,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Just as Sylvia Plath's journals and letters home construct an autobiography of her, The Letters of Ted Hughes form a partial autobiography of him. The poems in Crow changed the way I viewed him as a poet; and Nick Gammage's The Epic Poise changed the way I viewed him as a man. These letters continue to evolve the image of Ted Hughes, which frankly had nowhere to go but up. Occasionally I asked myself, "Should I be reading these?", just as I ask myself that same question when I regularly read Plath's journals and letters. But the answer is always, "Yes."

This book, the first of its kind for a man who was known to be a very private person, further opens Ted Hughes. Similarly, in some way, to those "raw and unguarded" Birthday Letters. When Hughes sold his archive to Atlanta, he allowed for the demolition of that private wall he had built up around him. His archives are open in Atlanta, and another will be in the coming year in London, allowing further access into his life and his mind. Perhaps these letters, selected and edited by Christopher Reid, are not as candid as his private journals are, but over the many decades of Hugheses writing life, these letters show many phases of this controversial man. They make for fascinating reading and remind me of what a good writer he was. Throughout the book, Hughes constantly looks back and what had had done - creatively - and talks about what he should (or could) have done. I wonder if his late confession that writing and publishing Birthday Letters really did free him? Being on this end of the creative process allows for a unique perspective into Hugheses writing habits, publishing habits, etc. We're on the outside looking in; while at the same time on the inside looking out.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Michael Salcman on January 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The first draft of history (i.e. journalism) has not been kind to Ted Hughes, but he has little to worry about. When the Complete Poems came out, the review in Poetry magazine made the plausible argument that Hughes is the greatest poet in English since Shakespeare. In addition to a controversial book on the man he called Shakes, Hughes wrote more than 40 volumes of poetry, criticism, stage and radio plays, classical translations, children's books, and anthologies. In the years since his death, complete editions of his efforts in many of these disciplines have appeared, in England first and in the US subsequently. Now we are presented with a Selected Letters by his editor Christopher Reid; these have been chosen from more than 3000 written with great verve and intensity to a number of close friends, fans, students, and any number of the great and famous. It is an astonishing book.

For poets and writers not poisoned by the views of American feminists who have thoroughly martyrized his first wife, the letters provide an opportunity to truly hear the intimate voice of a special artist and eavesdrop on the British literary milieu in which he conducted himself with honor and trepidation. T.S. Eliot, Auden, Spender, Larkin, the Royals, and Heaney all make an appearance. His love of and advocacy for the work of his first wife and for the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai are striking. Americans on the scene include Leonard Baskin, the distinguished printmaker who collaborated on many books with Hughes, W.S. Merwin, especially during his years in England, with references to Donald Hall and Galway Kinnell. The emphasis on the English scene is understandable given the treatment Hughes experienced at the hands of Americans; much of his life is insular and rural to a shocking degree.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Carl Rollyson on March 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't suppose the publisher would have stood for printing all of Ted Hughes's letters, but if you have worked in the Hughes and Sylvia Plath archives, as I have done, you regret that certain letters do not make their appearance in this volume. Nevertheless, for both readers of Plath and Hughes, there is much here to excite interest and reflection. The previous Plath biographies lack Hughes's voice at crucial points, and these published letters help fill the gap.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John J. Amaral on April 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is an example of how letters can portray the days in the life of such a talented and creative writer.
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