<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-K3L4M3" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden">

Lead book review

An unauthorised, and unconvincing, biography of Ted Hughes

Jonathan Bate fails to make his sensational case that the poet was a sexual sadist

3 October 2015

8:00 AM

3 October 2015

8:00 AM

Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life Jonathan Bate

William Collins, pp.662, £30, ISBN: 9780008118228

In Testaments Betrayed, Milan Kundera says: ‘Biographers know nothing about the intimate sex lives of their own wives, but they think they know all about Stendhal’s or Faulkner’s.’ In The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, Janet Malcolm says: ‘The transgressive nature of biography is rarely acknowledged, but it is the only explanation for biography’s status as a popular genre.’

Already a subscriber? Log in

Get 3 months of digital access, absolutely free

Subscribe to The Spectator Australia today to get the next 3 months of unlimited website and app access for free.

  • Full access to spectator.com.au and spectator.co.uk
  • The Spectator Australia app, on Apple and Android
  • Podcasts and newsletters, including Morning Double Shot
  • Our archive, going back to 1828
Or

Unlock this article

REGISTER

Available from the Spectator Bookshop, £25 Tel: 08430 600033. Craig Raine’s latest book is More Dynamite, a collection of essays and reviews. His most recent poetry collection is How Snow Falls.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first month for free, then just $2 a week for the remainder of your first year.


Comments

Get 3 months of digital access, absolutely free

Join the conversation with other Spectator Australia readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Close