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2015 | 24/1 | 119-132

Article title

Ted Hughes and Poetry as Spiritual Restitution



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The article explores Ted Hughes’s poems and criticism with a view to demonstrating that his poetry represents a willing exposure to the greatest of traumas in order to recuperate from them a spiritual energy. It is argued here that since, according to Hughes, the modern world is a civilisation of repression, the poet’s task is to alleviate this pain at the price of his own suffering. In this sense the poet plays the function of the shaman, who knows that his power derives from the pain he undergoes on behalf of his community. Rather than spirits, however, the poet-shaman in Hughes seeks the favour of what Robert Graves called the white goddess, who can bestow her blessing on the poet or mercilessly plunge him into ruin.


  • Jagiellonian University


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