Notes and drafts from Ted Hughes's workroom and workhut


This collection of loose papers is a selection from a larger collection of material written and stored by Ted Hughes in his workroom and work hut at his home in Devon. It includes autograph, typewritten and printed material.

Mind maps

The first loose sheet is an example of a mind map drawn up by Hughes, which appears to have been used by the poet as a way of recording notes and research. It focuses on key figures and stories explored in Siberian folktales, reflecting Hughes’s lifelong interest in folk culture ─ an interest that can be found in other archival material. The note ‘Siberian Folktales Riordan (Canongate)’ suggests that this particular mind map is a response to James Riordan’s collection The Sun Maiden and The Crescent Moon: Siberian Folktales, first published in 1989. Other mind maps within the folder explore topics such as the mythical figure of Atlas and occult Japan.

Notes on the arrangement of Birthday Letters

The second item consists of a collection of sheets on the arrangement of poems in Birthday Letters, the poetic sequence about Hughes’s relationship with Sylvia Plath. The sheets were pinned on the wall of Hughes’s workhut in his garden in North Tawton, Devon.

Although titled ‘Final arrangement?’, the undated document reveals that Hughes considerably altered the collection’s structure before its publication in 1998. Here, for example, the poems are split into Books I-V, and Hughes lists poems which were not included in the final selection, such as ‘Last Letter’. Hughes also lists just 57 poems, compared to the final 88. This document, and the surrounding archival material, thus provides an insight into Hughes’s composition and heavy revision of the collection across decades.

‘Full Moon and Little Frieda’

The third item is a fair copy of ‘Full Moon and Little Frieda’, a popular poem Hughes wrote about himself and his daughter, who is named in the title.

Full title:
Edward James Hughes Papers: Notes and drafts from workroom and workhut
c. 1990s; whole volume 1951─98
Manuscript / Notebook / Artwork / Drawing / Image
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
Add MS 88918/12/4

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Created by: Ted Hughes

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