Christopher Reid, editor
Letters of Ted Hughes.
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 784 pages, $45

After the success of Sylvia Plath’s book of poetry, Ariel, and her novel, The Bell Jar, feminists came to view Plath as their saint and martyr. Her husband, Ted Hughes (1930–1998), became the prototype of everything rotten about men as well as a demonic embodiment of everything America does not understand about the Old World, England in particular. Hughes was reviled by Plath devotees like Paul Alexander, who has been (literally) retailing the story of Plath as victim in his sensational and wildly inaccurate biography Rough Magic, and in a play called Edge which had a successful run on the New York stage a few years back. Reviewing the play in The Villager, Jeremy Tallmer wrote, “Every woman in the world—every woman who can read—knows, or believes, that...


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