Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Well, maybe not …

… Janet Malcolm on Jonathan Bate's biography of Ted Hughes: ‘A Very Sadistic Man’. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Bate’s malice is the glue that holds his incoherent book together—malice directed at other peripheral characters but chiefly directed at its subject. Bate wants to cut Hughes down to size and does so, interestingly, by blowing him up into a kind of extra-large sex maniac.
I reviewed Bate's book, but I didn't take it upon myself to to investigate his sources and methods. And I only had 1,000 words. I did not get the sense that he disliked Hughes or Hughes poetry — though it is true that his comments on that poetry are lackluster. The sex life had to be addressed, since so much of the book is taken up with it, but I like to think I came off as reasonably fair to Hughes. But you can judge that for yourself: Jonathan Bate's life of Ted Hughes: Uneven look at an uneven life.

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