chapter  13
10 Pages

Ted Hughes & the Folk Tale

If all poets are pattern makers, they are themselves caught up in patternsmovements, periods, intertextual constellations. Today it is essentially the intellectual background of Hughes’s poetry that I wish to discuss-the question of ideas and the history of ideas, and the history of literary forms. I will be concerned not so much with what might be called his mythical readings (one thinks, for example, of his reading of Shakespeare which brought him into headon conflict with academia) but with his reading of “tales,” a word that appears regularly in his poetry-more specifically a particular form-the folk tale, whose relation to the myth-and other forms like the fable or fairy tale or wonder taleis problematic.