Ann Skea on Hughes's "diaries"

Ann Skea has added comments on the recent mention of Hughes's "diaries" in several newspapers and articles

Ann Skea's Website

Ann Skea has added comments on the recent mention of Hughes's "diaries" in several newspapers and articles. She writes:

In several newspaper and journal articles and, most recently, in a talk on Ted Hughes and Shakespeare given at the Sam Wannamaker Playhouse, Jonathan Bate, who is currently writing what he now calls the "Unauthorised Biography of Ted Hughes", has referred to Ted's "diary" or "journal".

No such object is listed in the Hughes Archive at the British Library and, although I have researched much of this material, I have seen only random, mostly undated, diary-like entries in the notebooks and amongst the manuscripts. I have, therefore, been puzzled by these references. As have others. The British Library catalogue mentions "dairy entries" (see their two catalogue details shown below) and I have recently looked again at the first of these files.

My notes reflect the typical incidence of such entries and the sort of things discussed in them. In Jonathan Bate's article in the Times Literary Supplement (6 Feb 2014) he quotes from "Ted Hughes's diary for the last week of [Sylvia's] life"). These quotations, I find, come from a single sheet in Add MS 88918/129/2.

My detailed notes on Add MS 88918/129/2 can be found on my web-pages at

Notes on a BBC 3 Radio Broadcast interview with Ted Hughes in which he discusses his 'lost' script for King Lear; mythology, pike and angles; and the experimental language of Orghast , can also be found on the same site

I have also added an Matthew Barker's alternative interpretation of 'Crow's Elephant Totem Song' to the Crow section of my Notes and Queries pages:

Brish Library Catalogue entries:
Add MS 88918/129/2
Autograph notes on loose leaf paper previously housed in a metal ring binder folder. Contains notes on different subjects including historical figures and different religions; and diary entries with details of events, people and places in Hughes's life
Add MS 88918/128/1-5
Autograph diary entries have been written in loose papers or pages, which appear to have been removed from notebooks and then held together with paperclips. The entries date from different periods of Hughes's life and are not in any way a complete set. They provide accounts of his family life and travels, personal reflections and professional events he attended.
Note: Partially reserved - some material in Add MS 88918/128/1, Add MS 88918/128/2 and Add MS 88918/128/3 has been reserved for Data Protection reasons.
Arrangement: The majority of the diary entries written on loose sheets of paper have been arranged chronologically where possible. Diary entries written in volumes, which cover a number of years have been arranged at the end, as has undated material.

More details here.