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 brought new significance to his poetry. In this stunning new biography of their marriage, Diane Middlebrook renders 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. 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 - recreating himself for posterity through his marriage to Sylvia Plath and his struggles within his own historical circumstances.
Diane Wood Middlebrook is the author of several volumes of poetry and ANNE SEXTON: A BIOGRAPHY (Virago). The recipient of many fellowships and awards, she is Professor of English at Stanford University, where she also served as the director for the Center for Research on Women.