This text provides a lucid and accessible introduction to the poetry of Ted Hughes, a major figure in twentieth- century poetry whose work is concerned with the forces of nature and their interaction with the human mind. It is also the first full length study to place Hughes's poetry in the context of significant developments in literary theory that have occured during his life, drawing in particular on the 'French theorists'- Jacques Lacan, Julia Kristeva, and Roland Barthes. The study sheds new light on Hughes's prosody, and on such matters as Hughes's relation to the 'Movement' poets, the influence of Sylvia Plath, his relation to Romanticism, his interest in myth and shamanism, and the implications of the Laureateship for his work. The poems are presented in chronological order, tracing the development of Hughes's highly distinctive style. The study also discusses Hughes's recently published non-fiction- Winter Pollen (1994) and Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being (1992).
The Poetry of Ted Hughes is indispensable for all students and academics interested in contemporary poetry and culture.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements Introduction Hughes and the movement The East European Influence Hughes and Myth Hughes and Shamanism 1. EARLY HUGHES 'Archaic Energies'; Language, Narcissism and Emptiness; 'A Utility General-Purpose Style'; The Influence of Sylvia Plath; Hughes and Romanticism; Language and Mysticism 2. CROW Carnival and Trickster; The 'Dialogic' Word; Through the Looking Glass; Depression: A Style; 3. GAUDETE 'Some Kind of Tunnel'; Lens and Landscape; The Use of Stereotypes; The Double; Language and the Double; 'Adventure Time' in Gaudete; The Double's Defeat; The Language of Gaudete; The Grotesque of Gaudete; The Epilogue Poems and the 'Future Anterior' 4. CAVE BIRDS A Transformation Mystery; Lacan and Jung; The Semiotic and the Symbolic; The Hermetic Vessel as Semiotic Chora; The Shamanic Event; The Discourse of Depression; The Problem of the Feminine 5. LATER HUGHES The Real as Obstacle; The Real as Trauma; The Photograph as Real; An 'Internally Persuasive Discourse'; The Imaginary-Real 6. HUGHES AS LAUREATE Index
Paul Bentley is lecturer in literary studies at the University College of St. Mark & St. John, Plymouth.