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Erica Wagner is literary editor of The Times of London.

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Wagner, Erica
literary editor



(Original Review, 2002)

It's interesting that noted feminist Germaine Greer said of both Plath and Hughes that, 'she saw him coming' and that 'most people wouldn't have been taken in by her'. It is very easy to censure especially when you know very little of the background. Sylvia Plath was mentally ill and had already almost succeeded in killing herself before she left had the States for Cambridge. A police search for her failed to find her because she had taken an overdose and laid down underneath the floor of her mother's home. She came round and banged her head and was heard by her brother. Otherwise she would most certainly have died undiscovered. Plath and Hughes had a mutually supportive marriage for several years but she was bipolar, possessive, extremely suspicious, and destructive. Hughes clearly didn't know what to do for the best and apparently there was talk of reconciliation almost to the end. Whether her suicide was intended is also questionable because had the person living in the flat below not been knocked out by the town gas Plath killed herself with, he would have let in the visitor who was due to call early in the morning and Plath would perhaps have been saved. As for Assia Wevill she set out to seduce him and went about bragging at work how easy it had been. Although extremely beautiful, she was said to be a lost soul, a lady who seduced her way out of Israel, marrying an army sergeant and leaving him at the first opportunity soon after they had left Israel and settled in Canada. Greer said of the two women, 'some women are destructive and when they find that they cannot damage the men in their lives, end up destroying themselves'. Whilst nobody would deny that Hughes was an adulterer, he certainly wouldn't be the first to have sought the arms of another as an escape from a mentally ill, highly possessive and intense wife. Having seen his wife kill himself, it is hardly surprising that he spent the rest of his life wracked with guilt and unable to devote himself to the woman who led him astray.

Judge not lest ye be judged.
… (meer)
antao | Oct 29, 2018 |

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