RepositorySpecial Collections Archives (GB 0029)
Ref NoEUL MS 58
Datec 1975
Extent2 boxes (232 sheets)
TitleLiterary papers relating to Ted Hughes's 'Cave Birds'
DescriptionThe collection is the complete series of poems and drafts for 'Cave Birds'. This series of poems was commissioned from Hughes by the Ilkley Festival of Literature and was first performed at Ilkley on 30 May 1975. The original 'Cave Birds' poems were based on a series of drawings by Leonard Baskin. Later, a second series of ten drawings inspired a further group of poems, and later still these poems were diversified, for relief and contrast, by the interpolation of a further set of poems in a looser and more dramatic style. The complete sequence consists of thirty poems. To these, Hughes added a brief series of explanatory notes, one for each poem. The Scolar Press produced a limited edition of 100 copies of the second set of poems, together with the corresponding drawings by Baskin, in 1975. Twenty-nine poems were published in an edition by Faber in 1978. The collection includes a page of contextual notes by Eric W White, former committee member of the Arts Council.
Admin HistoryTed Hughes (1930-1998), poet laureate, was born at Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire, in 1930, the son of William Henry Hughes and Edith Farrar Hughes. He was educated at Mexborough Grammar School, having moved there in 1937, when his father opened a newsagent's shop. In 1948, he won a scholarship to Cambridge, and read English at Pembroke College before changing to Archaeology and Anthropology, graduating in 1954. At Cambridge he met Sylvia Plath (d 1963), whom he married in 1956. The year after his marriage his first book of poetry, 'The Hawk in the Rain', was published by Faber and Faber to widespread acclaim. A number of increasingly diverse publications followed, including childrens' stories and poetry, librettos and poetry. After a short period in London and the USA, he moved to Devon in 1961. In 1970, he married his second wife, Carol Orchard, who survived him. He became Poet Laureate in 1984, and received the Order of Merit just before his death. He died in London in October 1998. By his first wife he had one son and one daughter.
Access StatusOpen
Related MaterialFour other collections relating to Hughes are held by the University of Exeter: EUL MS 132, EUL MS 192, EUL MS 192 add. 1 EUL MS 263, EUL MS 290 and EUL MS 414. Other papers relating to Ted Hughes are held at the following repositories: the British Library, the University of Birmingham (Sceptre Press Archive); Emory University, USA (Robert W. Woodruff Library).
Access ConditionsUsual EUL arrangements apply.
ArrangementThe manuscripts are in two sequences: A and B, reflecting the initial twenty poems and the final ten. Drafts, typescripts and notes for each poem are attached.
Creator_NameHughes; Ted (1930-1998); poet laureate
Mgt_GroupLiterary papers
DS/UK/64Hughes; Edward James (1930 - 1998); poet laureate1930 - 1998
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