Book Reviews

My book reviews are regularly published in newspapers, magazines and on the Internet.

The Collected Writings of Assia Wevill. Assia Wevill is known to many people because of her relationship with Ted Hughes and her more difficult relationship with Sylvia Plath. As the editors of this book say, ‘she remains a relatively understudied figure, because of the dearth of primary material available related to her’. This book seeks to remedy this by publishing all that could be found of her writings.

Faber & Faber: The Untold Story by Toby Faber Toby Faber, grandson of the founder of Faber & Faber, recounts some of the history of the firm and its association with many (now) famous authors, including Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath.

The Letters of Sylvia Plath: Volume 2, Edited by Peter Steinberg and Karen Kukil. This second volume of Sylvia Plath’s letters takes up her correspondence from where Volume 1 left off. It contains 1,400 letters to more than 140 correspondents and includes a small number of letters written by Sylvia to her psychiatrist, Ruth Beuscher, during her marital breakup.

Mad, Bad, Dangerous To Know: The Fathers of Wilde, Yeats and Joyce by Colm Tóibin. This literary essay shows Tóibin’s Dublin, full of characters from the past and present, and characters from the books and plays of those who helped re-create Dublin as a city steeped in the arts.

The Letters of Sylvia Plath: Volume 1, Edited by Peter Steinberg and Karen Kukil. This first, thick volume of Sylvia Plath’s letters contains letters to her mother (published in full), to friends, boy-friends, editors and, for the first time, the letters she wrote to Ted Hughes up to 1956. A second volume will be published in 2018.

The Essential Paradise Lost by John Carey. Carey’s judicious pruning of Milton’s great epic poem has been done with great care for the original poem. Carey also offers a brief but masterly analysis of Milton’s great work and discusses some of the many aspects of it which have been studied since it was written.This a valuable book for first–time readers of Paradise Lost and for scholars.

Freud: The Making of an Illusion by Frederick Crews. This review examines the way in which Frederick Crews, who is a professor of English and a well–know literary critic, uses his biography to question the character and reputation of Sigmund Freud and expose him as a fraud.

Telling Tales, A crital assessment of the unauthorised biography of Ted Hughes written by Jonathan Bate: Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life.

A Memoir of Ted Hughes by Nathaniel Minton. 'Than' Minton first met Ted Hughes at Cambridge University where he became one of “the gang” of Ted’s friends who met to discuss poetry and to sing. This short memoir records aspects of a lifelong friendship.

Ted Hughes: A Collection of Critical Essays by Contemporary Scholars. Edited by Terry Gifford. Published by Palgrave Macmillan in January 2015, this book offers twelve different critical approaches to the work of Ted Hughes.

The Poetry of Ted Hughes: A reader’s guide to essential criticism. Published by Palgrave Macmillan in August 2014, this book offers a critical account of a selection of critical reviews of the work of Ted Hughes.

Ted Hughes: From Cambridge to Collected. This book, published by Palgrave Macmillan in September 2013, contains new essays written by Ted Hughes' friends and fellow poets, including Seamus Heaney and Simon Armitage. Terry Gifford's 'Introduction' (published here by permission of Palgrave Macmillan) outlines the contents of each paper.(Sept. 2013).

The Artist and the Poet: Leonard Baskin and Ted Hughes in conversation 1983. A documentary by Noel Chanan Film maker and photographer, Noel Chanan, has made a richly illustrated documentary film of Baskin and Hughes discussing their friendship and their many collaborations. Details of the origin of Crow, Cave Birds, Flowers and Insects, Season Songs and Under the North Star are part of this discussion. (Nov.2009).

Letters of Ted Hughes , selected and edited by Christopher Reid. Ted Hughes once described letter-writing as “excellent training for conversation with the world”. He was a prolific letter-writer, and his letters capture his voice, his emotions, his ideas and his creativity. This book includes correspondence with family, friends, scholars, royalty and many others. (Nov. 2007)

Ted Hughes: Selected Translations edited by Daniel Weissbort. “Ted Hughes(1930-98), Poet Laureate from 1984, was among the most important translators in the English tradition”. This book offers a wide selection of these translations.(Nov.2006)

Ted Hughes: A Literary Life by Neil Roberts. This book sets out to show how Ted Hughes’s work was a reflection of his inner world and was shaped by his life experiences, especially those of his earliest years and, later, by his relationship with Sylvia Plath. (Nov.2006)

The Laughter of Foxes (2nd Edition) by Keith Sagar. This was the first study to be published after Hughes’s death. It includes the background story of Crow , a Timeline of Hughes’s life and work, extracts from Hughes’s letters, chapters on the mythic imagination, on the poetic relationship between Hughes and Plath and on the evolution of a Hughes poem through all its manuscript drafts.(Oct.2006)

A Preview of Saint Botolph’s Review No.2 . Fifty years ago Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath met at the party which launched the first edition of Saint Botolph’s Review . Now, a second edition has been published. It contains a previously unpublished introduction by Ted Hughes to poems by Susan Alliston. (June.2006)

Ted Hughes: Collected Poems for Children . Poems by Ted Hughes. Illustrations by Raymond Briggs (Oct.2005)

Letters To Ted. Poems by Daniel Weissbort (Oct.2002)

Crow Steered Bergs Appeared: A Memoir of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath by Lucas Myers (Feb.2001)

Lire Ted Hughes: New Selected Poems 1954-1997 . Ed. by Joanny Moulin (2000). This book contains a number of academic papers in English and French which discuss the poetry in Hughes’ New Selected Poems

Difficulties of a Bridegroom by Ted Hughes. (1995). This book contains a selection of Ted Hughes’ short stories.

George’s Ghosts: A New Life of W.B.Yeats by Brenda Maddox (2000)

T.S.Eliot: An Imperfect Life by Lyndall Gordon (1998). A Biography of T.S.Eliot.

Blake by Peter Achroyd (1995). A Biography of William Blake.

Grief is the Thing with Feathers a curious book about grief and Crow by Max Porter (Sept.2015)

Mary Shelley a biography by Miranda Seymour (Nov.2001)

Mrs Chippy’s Last Expedition by Caroline Alexander (1997). The Remarkable Journey of Shackleton’s Polar-Bound Cat.

The Pooh Perplex by Frederick C, Crews(1995). A Literary Joke.

Some of my reviews can usually be found on Skea’s Bookshelf at Midwest Book Reviews

And there are more of my reviews in issues of the e-zine Eclectica

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