Ted Hughes, 1930-1998

The works of ...


Publication details of Esther's Tomcat:

Appeared in the collection of poems titled Lupercal, which was published in 1960.

Other literary works include:

The Hawk in the Rain (1957)
Moortown (1979)



17th August, 1930, in Mythilmroyd, England.

Early years:

Hughes was the third child of Edith Farrar and William Hughes. Mytholmroyd is surrounded by the stark barren moorscape of the Yorkshire Pennines, a setting which became imprinted on Hughes's memory. In 1938, the family moved to Mexborough, a mining town in South Yorkshire, where his parents ran a newsagents and tobacconists shop.


Hughes attended Mexborough Grammar School. In 1951, he entered Cambridge to study English, but in 1953 he changed his course to archeology and anthropology. In 1954, the University magazine, Granta, published his poem The Little Boys and the Seasons under the pseudonym Daniel Hearing. Hughes graduated in June, 1954.


Before going to Cambridge he served two years in the Royal Airforce (1949 to 1951). To support himself after graduating, he worked in several part time jobs, including working as a rose gardener, night-watchman in a steel factory, a zoo attendant, school-teacher and reader for J. Arthur Rank (a film-making company). After marrying Sylvia Plath he moved to the U.S. and taught one term of Creative Writing and English at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst in 1957.

Final years:

Over the last few years of his life, Hughes turned away from his concentration on essayist material, returning to translation and theatre. In 1995, a translation of Frank Wedekind's Spring Awakening was published. He translated several passages from Ovid's Metamorphoses, which were published in 1997 as Tales from Ovid. In early 1998, Birthday Letters was published, for which he received the Forward Prize shortly before his death. In the summer, he was awarded the Order of Merit.


Hughes died of cancer on 28th October, 1998.

Hughes-related web-sites:

The Ted Hughes Homepage

A Ted Hughes Website

Ted Hughes

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