Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life


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Publish Date
6.0 X 9.1 X 1.7 inches | 0.02 pounds

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About the Author

Jonathan Bate is a biographer, critic, and broadcaster. His many books include The Genius of Shakespeare, described by Sir Peter Hall as "the best modern book on Shakespeare"; a biography of the poet John Clare, which won Britain's two oldest literary awards, the Hawthornden Prize and the James Tait Black Prize; Soul of the Age, an intellectual life of Shakespeare, which was runner-up for the Biography Prize of PEN America; and The Song of the Earth, a pioneering book on poetry and the environment. He is also the author of a novel, The Cure for Love, and the hit one-man play for Simon Callow, Being Shakespeare. A fellow of both the British Academy and the Royal Society of Literature, he is provost of Worcester College and professor of English literature at Oxford University. Married to the author Paula Byrne, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to higher education and was knighted in 2015 for his services to literary scholarship.


"Bate has written, capaciously, arrestingly, a kind of tragedy...often veers close to the poet's singular perspective...He reminds us Ted Hughes was a marvelous poet: firstly, then fitfully, and then in a blaze near the end, and that the greatness in the work draws power from sources deeper than myth."--Glyn Maxwell, New York Times Book Review
"Magisterially respectful of Hughes...An uncompromising biographer [who] hasn't been swayed by interested parties...In Hughes's life, with its echoes of Greek tragedy, Bate finds grist for a new perspective on his work."--Christopher Benfey, The Atlantic
"An incisive, humane and deeply absorbing account of Hughes's life and work."--New York Times
"Remarkable...one of the very best biographies in years."--Joyce Carol Oates
"A masterly biography."--San Francisco Chronicle
"Jonathan Bate is a dazzling scholar, and in TED HUGHES he sheds new light on the poet and his times...Mr. Bate embodies...the touchstone of good biography: the complete sympathy of complete detachment."--Sara Wheeler, in "The Best Biographies of 2015," Wall Street Journal
"A vigorous biography... Bate, a professor of literature, gives sustained attention to Hughes's poems, substantiating the poet's own view that "as an imaginative writer, my only capital is my own life."--The New Yorker
"An excellent biography: compulsively readable, elegantly assembled... and sensitive to the many aspects of Hughes's grand and complicated character."--Christopher Wiman, Wall Street Journal, front page review
"An intelligent, even donnish work of criticism that connects the poems to the life..."--Washington Post
"This scrupulous biography acknowledges and explicates Hughes's brilliance as one of the twentieth century's great poets...Hughes deserved a fine biographer, and in Bate he got one."--Daily Beast
"Imaginative, comprehensive...worthy of becoming the standard life of Hughes. Illuminating, elegant, and excellent."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Scrupulous and lucid... [Hughes] was a dedicated and brilliantly sharp-eyed recorder of material that might or might not one day get hammered into poetry, and even the tiny pieces that Bate gives us glitter."--The Guardian
"Illuminating."--Daily Mail (London)
"...Bate has provided new depth to Ted Hughes' biography..."--Minneapolis Star Tribune