Ted Hughes

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Ted Hughes - Biography

Born 17th August 1930 in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire

Family moved to Mexborough when Hughes was 7

Attended Mexborough grammar school and starting writing poems from the age of fifteen

He attended Cambridge University where studied English up until his third year where he switched to Archaelogy and Anthropology

His first published poem appeared in 1954, the year that he graduated from Cambridge

On the 26th of February 1956, he met Sylvia Plath, who he married four months later

Hughes' first book of poems, Hawk in the Rain was published in 1957, to immediate acclaim; which won the Harper publication contest

Over the next 41 years, he would write upwards of 90 books, and win numerous prizes

In 1984, he was appointed England's poet laureate

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Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath

Birthday Letters is a sequences of poems written by Hughes in the first year of his marriage to Plath

Plath committed suicide in 1963 after they seperated in 1962

Many held Hughes responsible for her death

Hughes was having an adulterous relationship with Assia Wevill

Though deeply marked by the loss, Hughes was publicly silent on the subject for more than 30 years

Hughes became the executor of Plath's personal and literary estates

He oversaw the publication of her manuscripts, including Ariel

He also claimed to have destroyed the final volume of Plath's journal, detailing their last few months together

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Ted Hughes - Epilogue

On the 23rd of March 1969, Assia Wevill killed herself in a similar manner to Sylia's suicide

In 1970 Hughes married Carol Orchard

On the 28th October 1998 Hughes died in Devon, England

March 2009, Nicholas Hughes, the son of Hughes and Plath commited suicide at age 47

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Ted Hughes - Themes


Written in rough, harsh, sometimes disjointed lines

Ephasizing the cunning and savagery of animal life

Stressed the instinctive, animal side of human nature rather than the intellectual

Rejects cool rationality, objectivity and detachment

The Western world: becoming ever more scientific in its approach to life

Hughes' poetry exposes this violence and uses it as a means of expression

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