On 25 February 1956, 23-year-old Sylvia Plath walked into a party and spotted Ted Hughes, who she described as a ‘big, dark, hunky boy’. Sylvia viewed Ted as something of a colossus, and to this day his enormous shadow has obscured Plath’s life and work.
After her suicide in February 1963, Hughes became Plath’s literary executor, the guardian of her writings. But he regarded Plath’s prose writing as a ‘waste product’ of her ‘false self’, and his determination to market her later poetry – written after she had begun her relationship with him – as the crowning glory of her career has meant that her previous work has been marginalised.
Mad Girl’s Love Song reclaims the years before Ted, drawing on exclusive interviews with friends and lovers, and previously unavailable archives and papers, to focus on the early life of the 20th century’s most popular and enduring female poet.