Ted Hughes (1930-1998)
A selective list online literary criticism for the twentieth-century English poet Ted Hughes, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars and articles published in peer-reviewed sources
introduction & lighter reading
"Ted Hughes." Poetry Foundation. Ed. Catherine Halley. An introductory article on Ted Hughes: biography, list of works and suggested readings, and samples of his poems.
"Ted Hughes to be honoured at Poet's Corner: Ted Hughes is to be honoured with a memorial at Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey following a campaign led by Seamus Heaney and Sir Andrew Motion." The Telegraph 23 March 2010.
An introduction to Ted Hughes, with links to additional Guardian articles about him. The Guardian 22 July 2008.
"Beguiled by the wild: Ted Hughes' tone varied little over 50 years - but does that matter? John Kinsella finds the authority of a master in his Collected Poems." The Guardian 2 Nov. 2003.
"Ted on Sylvia, for the record: The British Library has recently acquired the 30-year correspondence between Ted Hughes and the critic Keith Sagar. Christina Patterson has read these remarkable letters and says our view of Hughes will never be quite the same." The Guardian 18 August 2001.
"Greek is the word: In his masterly translation of Aeschylus's Oresteia, the late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes pays perfect homage to 'the most necessary play of all time.'" The Guardian 24 October 1999.
NYTimes feature site on Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath contains links to Times archived articles on the poets, including a 1957 review of The Hawk in Rain by W.S. Merwin, reviews of From the Life and Songs of Crow, Moortown, Wolfwatching, Tales From Ovid, and more [requires a one-time registration].
Bere, Carol. An introduction to Ted Hughes. Literary Encyclopedia, 04 October 2004 [subscription service].
Churchwell, Sarah. "Ted Hughes and the corpus of Sylvia Plath." Criticism, Winter 1998.
Clanchy, Kate. "The Nationalisation of Ted Hughes." On teaching Ted Hughes in Britain, the author asks "why, then, are we as a nation so anxious to expose the young to Hughes?" Thumbscrew 14 (Autumn 1999).
Eddins, Dwight. "Ted Hughes and Schopenhauer: The Poetry of the Will." Eddins contends that Schopenhauer's pessimism "finds its fullest poetic realization, however, in our own time, in the verse of Ted Hughes. His menagerie - the hawk, the jaguar, the shark, and their ilk - fits even better than [D. H. ] Lawrence's birds, beasts, and flowers into Schopenhauer's "bellum omnium" of predation." Twentieth Century Literature, Spring 1999.
Elie, Paul. "A Poet's Unmistakable Voice: Remembering Ted Hughes." Commonweal, 16 July 1999.
Feinstein, Elaine. A review of Ted Hughes: The Life of a Poet that is generally negative. The Guardian, 28 Oct. 2001. A more positive review, in the New Statesman, 19 Nov. 2001 [removed].
Gifford, Terry. A Return to "The Wound" by Ted Hughes. "Deep in the heart of Wodwo there lies 'The Wound.' Among the poems and stories a radio play is offered as part of the 'single adventure' of the volume." Kingfisher, 1978.
Gifford, Terry. "The Fate of Ted Hughes's Papers: It seems to have gone unnoticed in the UK that in spring 1997 Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia bought, for an undisclosed sum, the entire collection of Ted Hughes's papers - all 2.5 tons of manuscripts, notebooks and letters." Thumbscrew, 14 (Autumn 1999).
Heaney, Seamus. Bags of Enlightenment. Seamus Heaney writes about his collaboration with Ted Hughes on the poetry anthologies. The Guardian, 25 October 2003.
Hughes, Ted. Context: Answers by Ted Hughes. Hughes responds to questions about poetry. The London Magazine, 1, 11 (February 1962).
Keegan, Paul, ed. "Essential but unlovely." Review of The Collected Poems of Ted Hughes" (Faber, 2003), edited by Paul Keegan. "The publication of Ted Hughes' Collected Poems shows both his genius and his failings, says reviewer Sean O'Brien." The Guardian, 1 Nov. 2003 Another review by Claas Kazzer, web published. Another short review by Keith Sager, discusses Hughes' interest in the mythic and mystical.
Loizeaux, Elizabeth Bergmann "Reading word, image, and the body of the book: Ted Hughes and Leonard Baskin's Cave Birds." Twentieth Century Literature, Spring 2004.
Motion, Andrew. Motion reviews Her Husband: Hughes and Plath - A MarriageLiterary Encyclopedia by Diane Middlebrook (Little, Brown). The Guardian, 17 July 2004.
Moulin, Joanny. "Hughes with Barthes: Mytho-poetic Icons. A paper presented at the E. S. S. E. Conference in Glasgow, September 1995.
Oswald, Alice. "Wild Things." An appreciation of Ted Hughes by poet Alice Oswald. The Guardian, 3 Dec. 2005.
Ritch, Alan. "Hay in Art." Compares six poems about hay by Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney.
Sagar, Keith. An introduction to Alcestis. Short article considers Ted Hughes' Alcestis in the context of Greek theatre and his life and work.
Stigen-Drangsholt, J. "Ted Hughes and Romanticism: A Poetry of Desolation." Cercles 12 (2005).
Wagner, Erica. "Life After Plath." The editor of the (London) Times discusses the publication of poems from Hughes' Birthday Letters in the Times in 1998. "After nearly thirty five years of silence on the subject, it was revealed towards the end of January 1998 that Hughes was finally going to speak out, by publishing a hitherto unsuspected collection of poems written over the years since Plath died, about his life with her. The Times, recognising a major literary event, announced a six part serialisation." Magma, 12 (Spring 1998).
Webster, Richard. 'The thought-fox' and the poetry of Ted Hughes, The Critical Quarterly, 1984.
Whittington-Egan, Richard. Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath-a marriage examined. Briefly discusses Hughes' last two books and his relationship with Plath. Contemporary Review, Feb. 2005.
Worthen, John. A review of DH Lawrence: The Life of an Outsider. Reviewer (and Poet Laureate) Andrew Motion objects that Worthen undervalues Lawrence's poetry, mentions its influence on Ted Hughes. The Guardian, March 5, 2005.
Brief annotated primary and secondary bibliography for Ted Hughes from a class on British poetry after 1950, at Royal Holloway, U of London.
1998-2011 by Jan Pridmore