Lover of Unreason: The Life and Tragic Death of Assia Wevill, By Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev
Sunday 10 August 2008
The excruciatingly painful end of this fascinating biography – Assia Wevill would gas herself and Shura, her daughter by Ted Hughes, to death – overshadows everything we can learn about this unfortunate woman, even as we fantasize, as with all suicides, that we can still save her somehow before the last page and rewrite her story.
If suicide is the last display of power by one who feels generally powerless, then Wevill must have felt powerless most of her life. And yet this extremely beautiful and intelligent woman, born to a Jewish doctor father and a Gentile mother who fled Nazi Germany for Tel Aviv, and who grew up speaking Russian and German as well as English, was also a flirtatious, manipulative and jealous woman, who stalked lovers and husbands even once she'd abandoned them.
To many, there was, as one friend comments, something "fragile and brittle" about her, which came to the fore when she first met Hughes, then married to Sylvia Plath. The Wevill and Hughes affair forced his separation from Plath – when Plath gassed herself, Wevill remarked, extraordinarily, that "it was nothing to do with me".
There's a horrible inevitability to her relationship with Hughes: a talented, artistic woman herself, she was no match for Plath's genius, and would be hurt by Hughes's refusal to let her help with his poetry, as Plath had. Forever smudged out by the spectre of Plath in accounts of both Plath's and Hughes's lives, Wevill has finally, and justly, earned a history of her own. While not a poet herself, her role in the lives of great poets was pivotal and it deserves to be known.
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Poldark, series 1 finale, review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik tops Sunday Times Rich List
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 3, review: Sansa and manhood-lopping torturer Ramsay Bolton - really?
The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove