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Download Her Husband: Hughes and Plath—A Marriage Audiobook

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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (846 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Diane Middlebrook Narrator: Bernadette Dunne Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Ted Hughes married Sylvia Plath in 1956, at the outset of their brilliant careers. Plath’s suicide six and a half years later, for which many held Hughes accountable, changed his life, his closest relationships, his standing in the literary world, and the style and substance of his verse. In this stunning new biography of their marriage, Diane Middlebrook presents a portrait of Hughes as a man, as a poet, and as a husband who was haunted—and nourished—his entire life by the aftermath of his first marriage.

Drawing on a trove of papers, Middlebrook presents Hughes as a complicated, conflicted figure: sexually magnetic, fiercely ambitious, immensely caring, and shrewd in business. She argues that Plath’s suicide, though it devastated Hughes and made him vulnerable to the savage attacks of Plath’s growing readership, ultimately gave him his true subject: how marriages fail and how men fail in marriage.

Writing with the penetrating insight and lucid sympathy that has informed all of her bestselling biographies, Middlebrook rises to the multiple challenges presented by this highly fraught, deeply controversial subject. Her Husband is a triumph of the biographer’s art and craft.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In her fascinating new book Middlebrook is a thorough and careful guide through this brief but endlessly intriguing marriage. Her knowledge of the poets’ work, her ability to trace currents and themes, and her singular vision in synthesizing it all is downright mystifying.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Middlebrook’s book is sure to be the gold standard. Astutely reasoned, fluidly written and developed with psychological acuity, the work is a sympathetically balanced assessment of two live that flamed brightly with the incandescent fire of creative genius.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Bernadette Dunne provides a smooth and even-handed narration, adding dimension and perspective to the analysis of the emotional lives of two intense and talented people. She is nonjudgmental and treats each individual, and their relationship, with respect.”


  • “A beautifully written two-strand biography; highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.”

    Library Journal  

  • “Although many of the details, taken from the couple’s letters and diaries, seem intimate and private, they are never voyeuristic, thanks to Dunne’s admirable performance. She shows obvious respect for both the biographer and the principles of the book. A compelling audio.”


  • “Reader Bernadette Dunne does an admirable job, given the weight of this material. Her matter-of-fact delivery is softened when characterizing Plath and Hughes’ voices during the reading of diary excerpts. She sounds compassionate when reading Plath’s darkest moments.”


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Amanda Grossman | 1/31/2014

    " This book was so great after reading Sylvia Plath's journals, if you're into reading about people's lives, and particularly about a woman's life who had mental issues. It was very inspiring to me to read about her life as a writer, as well as tidbits about Ted Hughes, her husband. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Autumn | 1/29/2014

    " Heartbreaking and honest--with no agenda toward either extraordinary poet. It shows how the very qualities that attracted Plath to Hughes were also the downfall of their marriage. Includes snippets of their poems and analysis on how events in their marriage affected their poetry. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Katie Dreyer | 1/24/2014

    " Turns out Ted Hughes was a jerk and Sylvia was the real genius. I don't think anyone's surprised. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Leanna | 1/23/2014

    " A pretty interesting account of the Plath-Hughes marriage and Hughes' efforts, after her death, to come to terms with her significance in his life. I have to say I was astonished by the number of affairs Hughes had with women throughout his life--he sure doesn't seem to take the ol' marriage bond too seriously. I couldn't believe how many times he cheated on his various wives. So, lots of juicy detail here. I did think the author drew too much from Hughes' final book, "Birthday Letters," in analyzing his feelings about Plath. However, the author does point out a lot of intriguing parallels between Plath and Hughes poems. Much of "Ariel" is in dialogue with Hughes' poems being published at that time, which I didn't know. And much of "Birthday Letters" relies on images Plath used. So, an interesting book if one is curious how a literary marriage might work--it was neat to see how their poems mutally impacted each other. "

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About the Author

Diane Middlebrook is the author of two highly praised, bestselling biographies, Suits Me: The Double Life of Billy Tipton and Anne Sexton, which was a finalist for both a National Book Award and a National Book Critics Circle Award. A former professor at Stanford University, she lives in San Francisco and London.