Ted Hughes married Sylvia Plath in 1956, at the outset of their brilliant careers. Plath's suicide six and a half years later, for which many held Hughes accountable, changed his life, his closest relationships, his standing in the literary world, and the style and substance of his verse. In this stunning new biography of their marriage, Diane Middlebrook presents a portrait of Hughes as a man, as a poet, and as a husband haunted-and nourished-his entire life by the aftermath of his first marriage.
Drawing on a trove of newly available papers Middlebrook presents Hughes as a complicated, conflicted figure: sexually magnetic, fiercely ambitious, immensely caring, and shrewd in business. She argues that Plath's suicide, though it devastated Hughes and made him vulnerable to the savage attacks of Plath's growing readership, ultimately gave him his true subject-how marriages fail and how men fail in marriage.
Writing with the penetrating insight and lucid sympathy that informed her previous bestselling biographies, Middlebrook rises to the multiple challenges presented by this highly fraught, deeply controversial subject. Her Husband is a triumph of the biographer's art and craft.