Her Husband by Diane Middlebrook
Hughes and Plath, a Marriage

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Diane Middlebrook

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Diane Middlebrook is the author of two highly praised, bestselling biographies, Suits Me: The Double Life of Billy Tiptonand Anne Sexton: A Biography, which was a National Book Award and was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist.
 
Published October 13, 2003 by Viking Adult. 384 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Her Husband

Kirkus Reviews

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Middlebrook (Anne Sexton, 1991, etc.) did much research for this latest brick in the now-imposing edifice of material about Plath and Hughes.

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The Guardian

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Her Husband: Hughes and Plath - A Marriage by Diane Middlebrook 362pp, Little, Brown, £20 Diane Middlebrook made her name by writing the life of Anne Sexton - not just in the sense that she did it well, but because she defied one of biography's few remaining taboos by quoting extensively from...

Jul 17 2004 | Read Full Review of Her Husband: Hughes and Plath...

The Guardian

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Her Husband by Diane Middlebrook Little, Brown £20, pp384 This admirable and judicious addition to the 19 competing biographies and 49 critical studies of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes currently listed is not so much another biography as a study of a literary construct: Hughes's presentation of him...

Jun 06 2004 | Read Full Review of Her Husband: Hughes and Plath...

BC Books

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No matter how you look at it, Plath and Hughes were meant for each other in some weird cosmic way, destructive as the union may have been, Plath and Hughes were a perfect couple, and Middlebrook does a remarkable job of presenting each of the partners in this ill-fated marriage (who doesn’t know ...

Sep 26 2004 | Read Full Review of Her Husband: Hughes and Plath...

Entertainment Weekly

The first time Sylvia Plath met Ted Hughes, she bit him on the face hard enough to draw blood.

Oct 17 2003 | Read Full Review of Her Husband: Hughes and Plath...

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

some suffered from the biographer's over-identification with Plath, while others were forced to rely on the limited generosity of the Plath estate, run by the famously tight-lipped Hughes and his sister.

Nov 02 2003 | Read Full Review of Her Husband: Hughes and Plath...

New York Magazine

Six years later, the woman for whom Hughes left Plath (her stranger-than-fiction name was Assia Wevill) killed herself and her and Hughes’s daughter by turning on the gas.

Feb 05 2013 | Read Full Review of Her Husband: Hughes and Plath...

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