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This review is taken from PN Review 26, Volume 8 Number 6, July - August 1982.

FLASH CRITICISM Ekbert Faas, Ted Hughes: The Unaccommodated Universe (Black Sparrow, Santa Barbara, California) $14.00, $7.50-pb
Terry Gifford and Neil Roberts, Ted Hughes: A Critical Study (Faber) £9.50

In the wake of Ted Hughes's recent prolific output, two new books on his work have appeared within a year. Ekbert Faas in his book places Hughes's work within a new global poetics, which he sees as a departure from the mainstream of Western tradition, and traces the poet's development, interpreting the verse in the light of Hughes's critical essays and comments on his work in private conversation, thus 'providing a more rationally articulated counterpoint to his poetic vision'. He justifies this privileged approach by placing his subject with 'Yeats or Thomas whose lives, "letters and legends belong to [their] poetry" '. Hughes's entire poetic oeuvre consists, like Plath's, of 'chapters in a mythology', expounding the Shakespearean theme of unaccommodated man in an unaccommodated universe, a state resulting from an overcharge of ratiocination in Western European civilization which has desecrated and banished the great Goddess of Nature. It is this acute perception of the disintegration of Christian civilization and the ensuing search for a new mode of being, finding its inspiration in primitive cultures, that places Hughes in 'a worldwide new poetics'. Faas, an enthusiast, feels 'it was this neolithic conservatism which turned Hughes into his country's major spokesman for mankind's sudden and unprecedented evolution into a new global culture'. A radical primitivism demanding its own distinct mode of expression which Faas calls 'flash vision' creativity, springing with unimpeded spontaneity from the deepest core of the human mind, a primal impulse which no revision should be allowed to falsify ...


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