Ariel's Gift by Erica Wagner
Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and the Story of the Birthday Letters

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Synopsis

When Ted Hughes's "Birthday Letters" was published in 1998, it was greeted with astonishment and acclaim, and immediately became a bestseller. Few suspected that Hughes had been at work for a quarter of a century on this cycle of poems addressed to his first wife, Sylvia Plath. Erica Wagner explores the destructive relationship between the two poets through their lives and their writings. She provides a commentary to the poems in "Birthday Letters", showing the events that shaped them and showing how they draw upon Plath's own work.
 

About Erica Wagner

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Erica Wagner is the author of Gravity, a book of stories, and Ariel's Gift. She was born in New York and lives in London, where she is literary editor of The Times.
 
Published January 1, 1100 by W. W. Norton & Company. 312 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Ariel's Gift

Publishers Weekly

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This erudite critical study, together with the Unabridged Diaries of Sylvia Plath released last year, breathes new life into Plath scholarship, ironically in this case through the study of her husband's poetry, particularly Birthday Letters (published in 1998 shortly before his death), which, Wag...

| Read Full Review of Ariel's Gift: Ted Hughes, Syl...

BC Books

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Long the target of extreme feminist groups, who were, no doubt, in some ways well-meaning toward Sylvia at least, Hughes had kept silent on the matter, allowing his voice to be heard through the works of the Plath estate that he allowed to be published – or didn’t allow as the case may be, and tu...

Oct 10 2004 | Read Full Review of Ariel's Gift: Ted Hughes, Syl...

New Statesman

(“In his eyes I could see little glinting pound signs where his irises normally were.”) And so Bill, who is a nice chap, and not the sort to let anyone down, obliges, setting off from Bognor Regis on a winding journey that reflects but does not duplicate his adventure of two decades ago.

Feb 28 2014 | Read Full Review of Ariel's Gift: Ted Hughes, Syl...

New Statesman

Did I know that if you were to visit all the medieval churches in England – England alone – at the rate of one a week, “it would take you three hundred and eight years”?

Jan 22 2015 | Read Full Review of Ariel's Gift: Ted Hughes, Syl...

New Statesman

Stravinsky – who, after the onset of the First World War and then the Russian Revolution, lived in exile variously in Switzerland, France and the US – said his love of St Petersburg was so intense that he didn’t like looking too deeply into his memories for fear of realising how attached he was t...

Aug 18 2014 | Read Full Review of Ariel's Gift: Ted Hughes, Syl...

New Statesman

(“In his eyes I could see little glinting pound signs where his irises normally were.”) And so Bill, who is a nice chap, and not the sort to let anyone down, obliges, setting off from Bognor Regis on a winding journey that reflects but does not duplicate his adventure of two decades ago.

Sep 20 2013 | Read Full Review of Ariel's Gift: Ted Hughes, Syl...

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