Lover of Unreason: Assia Wevill, Sylvia Plath's Rival, and Ted Hughes's Doomed Love

Yehuda Koren, Author, Eilat Negev, Author . Carroll & Graf $27.95 (280p) ISBN 978-0-78671-861-0

The "other woman" in the Sylvia Plath–Ted Hughes divorce receives long-delayed consideration in this assiduously researched, compulsively readable biography, where the authors draw on newly revealed primary sources. The life of thrice-married Assia Wevill (1927–1969) makes a fascinating story even before her six-year affair with Hughes and the birth of his (unacknowledged) daughter, Shura. Born in Berlin of a Russian Jewish father and a German Lutheran mother, raised in Tel Aviv, married to a British soldier in order to gain a British passport, Assia was, as the authors demonstrate, a smoldering femme fatale, albeit highly intelligent, witty and talented. While Koren and Negev (In Our Hearts We Were Giants: The Remarkable Story of the Lilliput Troupe ) don't whitewash Assia's volatile, self-absorbed personality or her serial adulteries, they do contradict the widespread impression that Assia was the initial seducer of Hughes. This will be an important book for Hughes scholars, primarily for the authors' exclusive 1996 interview with the poet, in which he identified the poems he wrote alluding to Assia after her death, which he felt no critic had ever interpreted correctly. Newly revealed letters and interviews reinforce previous accounts of Hughes's sexual attraction and the dedicated philandering that drove two women to suicide. Photos. (Jan. 23)

Reviewed on: 10/30/2006
Release date: 01/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 280 pages - 978-1-86105-974-1
Paperback - 280 pages - 978-0-7867-2105-4
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