Open Access Repository

'I could hardly speak' : dialogues in the poetry of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

Imbuido, Ivy Alvarez (2002) 'I could hardly speak' : dialogues in the poetry of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

[img]
Preview
PDF (Whole thesis)
whole_ImbuidoIv...pdf | Download (6MB)
Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.

| Preview

Abstract

This thesis examines an extraordinary dialogue between the poets Sylvia Plath and Ted
Hughes. My methodology uses Hughes's Birthday Letters as a limit case when approaching
Plath's oeuvre, focussing on intertextual examples that solidify my arguments of a dialogue
which began when the poets met and continued after Plath's death. Often a dialogue is
signalled when a poem by each writer shares the same title. On other occasions, a shared
biographical event is re-visioned separately by Plath and Hughes. Though I refer to
biographical material when relevant, my focus is on the poetry.
Working through a theory of dialoguic intertextuality — arrived at through Charles Balditin's
dialogic theory, Julia Kristeva's theory of intertextuality and Gerard Genette's theories of
metatextuality and hypertextuality — I define dialoguic intertextuality as a sequential and
subjective interchange of ideas between texts and the authors of those texts. The text, part of
the author's created personae, replaces or supplements conversations that refer to a known and
shared system of knowledge — biographical events, for example — thus becoming further
embedded in a subsequent text.
This thesis questions several of Hughes's decisions as Plath's literary executor, uncovering
instances of dubious textual borrowing and even theft. I argue that Hughes, when compared
with Plath, is far more strident in representing the couple's power struggles over textual
ownership, and gender and national difference. Their work addresses creation and creativity
(particularly creation of life versus creation of poetry), birth, death and rebirth. The poets'
preoccupations with parental roles and the suppression and revelation of perceived truths in
their poetry are also discussed.
Hughes often inserted biographical elements in his poetry that are all but obscured in Plath's
work. While Hughes's poetry insists on his version of truth about key events of their lives,
Plath's poetry resists his readings. As a tangible outcome of their dialogue, these insistences
and resistances form the foundation of this thesis.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Master)
Keywords: Plath, Sylvia, Hughes, Ted, 1930
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2002 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

For consultation only. No loan or photocopying permitted until 1st July 2004. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Tasmania, 2002. Includes bibliographical references

Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2014 02:43
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2016 05:43
Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page
TOP