The Scottish Mail on Sunday
Daughter’s anger over Plath letters branding Ted Hughes a wife-beater
THE daughter of poets Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath has angrily condemned the release of intimate letters that her mother wrote just before her suicide.
In correspondence to her therapist, tormented Plath accused Hughes of having an affair and of beating her, just before she miscarried what would have been their second child.
The letters throw new light on one of the most famous couples in literature, but in an exclusive interview in today’s Event magazine, their daughter Frieda, says: ‘They should never have seen the light of day. Letters from a client to a therapist are sacrosanct. I know when my mother wrote those letters she was going through a horrible time.’
Frieda admits it was ‘a shock’ to learn from them that Poet Laureate Hughes wished his troubled wife dead, but added: ‘Most of us have written letters when we’ve been in pain, divorce, desperation, death, whatever. Have you ever wished someone dead? Often.’
Ms Hughes, now 57, was just two years old in 1963 when her mother gassed herself in her North London flat. Little is known about her final months as Hughes controversially burned her last journals. The contents of Plath’s letters to therapist Dr Ruth Barnhouse came to light earlier this year when they were offered for sale in New York.