1. Homer, The Iliad, Fagles, R (trans.) (U.S.A: Viking Penguin, 1990), p. 77; and The Odyssey of Homer, Lattimore, R. (trans.) (U.S.A: Harper & Row, 1967), p. 27.
2. Virgil, The Aeneid (19 BC), Anonymous volunteers and Widger, D. (trans.) (Gutenberg Project, Ebook), Canto 1.
3. Campbell, J. The Masks of God: Creative Mythology (London: Penguin, 1968), p. 80.
4.Hughes.T. Interview with Drue Heinz, 'Ted Hughes: The Art of Poetry No. 71', The Paris Review, Spring, 1995, No.134, pp. 55–94.
5. Spenser, E. The Faerie Queene, Wauchope, R.A. (ed.) (Gutenberg Ebook), Book 1. Canto 1.
6. Hughes T. “By the time I got to university, at twenty–one, my sacred canon was fixed: Chaucer, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Blake, Wordsworth, Keats, Coleridge, Hopkins, Yeats, Eliot”.
7. Ibid.
8. Faas, E. The Unaccommodated Universe (Santa Barbara: Black Sparrow Press, 1980), p. 202.
9. Ibid. p. 199.
10. Ted Hughes to Nick Gammage, 7 April 1995 in Reid, C. (ed.), The Letters of Ted Hughes (London: Faber, 2007). p. 679.
11. This book belonged to his sister, Olwyn. Later, as he told Ekbert Faas (op.cit. p.37), he read all Jung’s translated volumes. Jung’s works are present in his library at Emory University, Atlanta, USA.
12. Graves, R. The White Goddess (London: Faber 1977), pp. 21–26.
13. Ibid. p. 72.
14. Ibid. p. 25.
15. Graves, R. The Transformation of Lucius: otherwise known as the golden Ass (London: Penguin 1950). Sylvia wrote to her mother of “a lovely engraving of Isis from one of Ted’s astrological books” (SPLH 7 Feb. 1960). Quotation from Lucius Apuleius, The Golden Asse (Addlington’s translation 1566), London: Simpkin Marshall Ltd. 1934) p. 219. Poems: Ted Hughes, Ruth Fainlight, Alan Sillitoe (London: Rainbow Press Limited Edition 1971).
16. Ibid. p. 24.
17. Reid, C. (ed.) op.cit. Note to a letter from Hughes to Nick Gammage, 10 October 1998. p.734.
18. Hughes, T. River (London: Faber, 1983).
19. The Paris Review, op.cit.
20. In a letter to Moelwyn Merchant (29 June 1990) Hughes wrote that he had “discovered the literature of Shamanism” at University. And it is likely that he attended the lectures of Dr Ethel John Lingren, an authority on shamanism in Manchuria, who, as Robert Leighton reveals in ‘What did Ted Learn from Anthropology?’ (a paper he presented at the Royal Anthropological Institute in June 2015), lectured in anthropology at Cambridge University when Ted was an undergraduate there.
21. Dodds, E. The Greeks and the Irrational, University of California Press, Berkley, 1951, p.101, note 121. Dodds was a Classicist and Regius Professor of Greek at the University of Oxford , he had met W.B.Yeats and he had a lifelong interest in mysticism, poetry and psychic research. Hughes was an undergraduate student at Pembroke at the time this book was first published and, since these pencil–marked passages exactly reflect his particular interests and not necessarily those of Classics scholars, it is tempting (but unprovable) to suggest that he made them.
22. Faas, E, op.cit. p. 206.
23. Ted Hughes to Nick Gammage, 7 April 1995. in The Letters of Ted Hughes, op.cit. p. 679. “My sister (my pathfinder) had bought Psychological Types and that was one book I knew backwards – the theory of it – before I went to University. So I read Graves through Jung”.
24. Hughes, T, Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being (London: Faber, 1992), passim.
25. Hughes, T, A Dancer to God (London: Faber, 1992), p. 27–8. Also published as ‘The Poetic Self: A Centenary Tribute to T.S. Eliot’ (WP 214–7).
26. Ramanujan, A. J, Speaking of Siva (London, Penguin Classics, 1973).
27. Hughes, T. Gaudete (London: Faber, 197), pp. 176–200.
28. Hughes, T. Orts, (Rainbow Press Limited Edition, 1978). Also in Moortown (London: Faber, 1979), pp. 132–149.
29. For a detailed discussion of these poems see Skea, A. ‘Ted Hughes’ Vacanas: The Difficulties of a Bridegroom’ in Ted Hughes : Cambridge to Collected , M. Wormald, N. Roberts, T. Gifford (eds.), (Hampshire: Palgave Macmillan, 2013), pp. 81–95. Also online at
30. ‘The primrose petal’s edge’, THCP 364.
31. ‘The rain comes again’, THCP 362.
32. ‘Your eyes are poor’, THCP 404.
33. ‘Before I was born’, THCP 403.
34. ‘Better, happier to stay clear’, THCP 405.
35. Hughes’ notes to Gifford and Roberts included in a partly unpublished letter to Keith Sagar, 4 Oct. 1979. British Library Add. Mss. 78756.
36. Like Sylvia Plath, Sue Alliston appears in ‘18 Rugby St.’ in Birthday Letters (THCP 1055).
37. Neil Roberts notes that both Rand Brandes and Len Scigaj suggested that both these poems refer to Sylvia Plath (Roberts, N. Ted Hughes: A Literary Life (Hampshire: Palgrave, 2006), Note. 52, p. 228). William Scammell, in an article in The Poetry Review, op.cit. ‘Burst Open Under Blue–Black Pressure’ also made this claim. Hughes, however, specifically denied that ‘waving goodbye…’ is about Sylvia Plath. In a telephone conversation with me shortly before his death he confirmed that it was about his mother, Edith Farrar Hughes.
38. This framework is examined in detail in ‘Poetry and Magic’ 1 , ‘Poetry and Magic’ 2 and ‘Poetry and Magic’ 3: (web addresses: Birthday Letters; Howls & Whispers: and Capriccio:
39. ‘Caryatids 2’, THCP 1046.
40. Letter from Carol Hughes to Ann Skea (8 November 1999). The actual publication of Birthday Letters, just ten months before Ted died, finally gave him this feeling of total freedom.

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