Laughter of Foxes
(Liverpool University Press, 2000)
The Laughter of Foxes surveys the whole of Hughes' achievement,
not only in verse. It contains a great deal of new information, including
extracts from Hughes' letters to the author, a detailed chronology of
his life and work by Ann Skea, and the first publication of the background
story of Crow. There are chapters on the mythic imagination, the poetic
relationship of Hughes and Plath, and on the evolution of a Hughes poem
through all its manuscript drafts. But the main purpose of the book is
to attempt an adequate reading of Hughes' poetry, revealing the underlying
quest which transformed his imagination, leading him by painful stages
from a vision of a world made of blood to a vision of a world made of
|'This book is invaluable for anyone interested in Hughes'
|Elaine Feinstein Daily
'Sagar's strength is his ability to appreciate from the inside the
mythic journey which Hughes was undertaking through his work. Sagar's
fine and sensitive book is proof that penetrating critical thought
can be couched in lively and readable prose'
|Erica Wagner The Times
'In an age when most of what passes for literary criticism is of interest
to no-one but initiates of its own scarcely penetrable codes, here
is a book which continually reminds us what an enlarging joy and privilege
and challenge it is to read the work of a master-poet. In doing so,
it performs a valuable service both to its subject and to the wider
evolution of consciousness in our time. Whether poetry matters to
us or not, the responsibility remains with each of us to bring to
our lives the highest degree of ethical commitment and imaginative
energy of which we are capable. And in that struggle, as the life
and work of Ted Hughes so magnificently demonstrate, poetry can be
far more than the consolation of an idle hour: it becomes a vital
source of transforming energy'
|Lindsay Clarke Resurgence
'The Laughter of Foxes undertakes the necessary
labour of fitting to the poetry the paradigms worked out in Hughes'
fascinating mytho-critical prose from the 1990s. ... The central
chapter, 'From World of Blood to World of Light', convincingly plots
Hughes' progression towards a potentially redemptive vision.'
|Jeremy Noel-Tod Times
Hughes' version of Euripides' Alcestis was published too late
for me to be able to give it more than a brief reference in The Laughter
of Foxes. It is, of course, highly relevant to the ending of the second
chapter. My fuller, more considered account can be downloaded here.
(Click for Word document or pdf
The 143 letters Hughes wrote to me are now at the British Library. A
full description of them by Christina Patterson appeared in The Guardian
18 August 2001.
This book can be ordered from The
Times online bookshop
Hughes website is run by Claas Kazzer from the University of Leipzig.
For information about Hughes activities in the Calder Valley visit The
Ann Skea has her own excellent Hughes website.
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