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English Literature

Ted Hughes: Wind

Context

Edward James (Ted) Hughes (1930-1998) was born in the wonderful-sounding village of Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire, and although he moved to the mining town of Mexborough in South Yorkshire when he was eight years old, the moors and countryside of his early years were a major influence on his adult writing.

He joined the Royal Air Force after school and then went to Cambridge University on an academic scholarship. He graduated in 1954. In 1956 he met the young American Sylvia Plath, and they married a few months later. They had two children but later separated. Hughes left Plath for a woman called Assia Wevill. Plath tragically killed herself less then a year later by gassing herself and Hughes' public reputation was brought into question. Hughes stopped writing for years and instead spent time editing and publishing Plath's work.

Wevill lived with Hughes and looked after his children. Incredibly, she also killed herself, and their only daughter, in a manner similar to Plath.

Hughes married Carol Orchard in 1970 and they remained together until his death. In 1984, Hughes was named Poet Laureate (the Queen's poet). He died of cancer in Devon in 1998 and his ashes were cast on Dartmoor.

Hughes wrote many volumes of poetry as well as stories for children, perhaps most famously, The Iron Man. The themes most apparent in his poetry are nature and humanity's place within it.

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