Notebooks of Ted Hughes, c. 1959–64

Description

Estimated to date from 1959 to 1964, these loose papers are part of a larger collection of notebooks owned by the poet Ted Hughes. Originally kept in a metal ring binder folder, the notes contain fragmented diary entries and cover various subjects such as religion and philosophy.

Many of the diary entries relate to the period Hughes and Sylvia Plath spent living in Massachusetts, USA, in the late 1950s. They include the entry for 11 April 1959, which records Plath and Hughes receiving news that The Hawk in the Rain, Hughes’s first poetry collection, has been awarded the Guggenheim prize. Following it is an undated entry about a boating trip with Plath on Cape Cod, which is vividly described. These experiences later fed into Hughes’s poem ‘Flounders’, published in Birthday Letters, and the draft poem beginning ‘Winthrop. The land spit vast’ that is found in Add MS 88918/1/6.

In the extract dated 28 December, Hughes describes a walk with Plath into Heptonstall, Yorkshire, where his parents lived. On 23 June 1960, Hughes writes after the Faber cocktail party, with his observations of meeting W H Auden. The party is famously immortalised in photographs of Hughes with Auden, T S Eliot, Stephen Spender and Louis MacNeice.

Full title:
Edward James Hughes Papers: Notebooks
Created:
estimated 1959–5 January 1964
Format:
Manuscript / Notebook / Diary / Ephemera
Language:
English
Creator:
Ted Hughes
Usage terms

© The Ted Hughes Estate. No copying, republication or modification is allowed for material © The Ted Hughes Estate. For further use of this material please seek formal permission from the copyright holder.

Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Add MS 88918/129/2

Full catalogue details

Related articles

An introduction to Birthday Letters

Article by:
Neil Roberts
Theme:
Literature 1950–2000

Professor Neil Roberts explores the development of Birthday Letters, Ted Hughes’s 1998 poetry collection that was written over a period of 25 years and concerns Hughes’s relationship with the American poet Sylvia Plath.

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Literature 1950–2000, Fantasy and fairy tale

Andy Armitage explains how Ted Hughes used mythology to think and write about vitality and death. In doing so, Hughes drew not only on ancient myths but also on the work of previous writers influenced by mythology, such as Robert Graves, W B Yeats and Carl Jung.

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Birthday Letters

Created by: Ted Hughes

Birthday Letters, a collection of 88 poems by the British poet Ted Hughes, was published to public and critical ...