A Lover of Unreason: The Life and Tragic Death of Assia Wevill

Front Cover
Robson, 2006 - Mistresses - 280 pages
4 Reviews
'Assia was my true wife, and the best friend I ever had' wrote a heartbroken Ted Hughes, after Assia Wevill had surrendered her life and that of their four-year-old daughter to the fumes from the gas oven in her London flat, in March 1969--just six years after Sylvia Plath had suffered a similar fate. Diva, she-devil, enchantress, muse: the exquisitely beautiful Assia Wevill inspired or provoked many epithets in the course of three marriages and in pursuit of a destiny that took her from pre-war Berlin to Palestine during the British mandate and then to London in the swinging 'sixties. In the end, none would prove to be more fitting than the epithet--and epitaph--she chose for herself: 'Here lies a lover of unreason and and exile'. The story of the ultimately tragic failure in the marriage between Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes--twentieth-century poetry's most celebrated couple--has always been related from one of two conflicting points of view: hers or his. Missing for more than four decades has been a third, equally relevant and no less fascinating perspective: that of Ted Hughes's mistress, Assia Wevill. A lover of unreason, the first biography of Assia Wevill, views afresh the Plath-Hughes marriage with a keen, revisionary eye, and at the same time, recounts the journey that shaped her life. Hers is a complex story, formed as it is by the pull of often contrary forces: fatal attraction and obsessive love, fidelity and adultery, cruelty and tenderness, dependence and rebellion, envy and self-sacrifice. Koren and Negev researched Assia Wevill's life for over fifteen years, unearthing a mass of personal documents, including her diaries and letters, and interviewed all the key witnesses, most of them speaking here for the first time. Their book is authoritative and compelling.--Book jacket.

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User Review  - carl.rollyson - LibraryThing

Assia Wevill is the dark lady of the Plath/Hughes agon. As Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev put it in "Lover of Unreason" (Carroll & Graf, 268 pages, $27.95), "Assia was reduced to the role of a she-devil ... Read full review

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User Review  - startingover - LibraryThing

With the lurid subtitle 'Assia Wevill, Sylvia Plath's rival and Ted Hughes' doomed love', you might find yourself wanting to give this biography a wide berth. After all, how much do we really need to ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Yehuda Koren is journalists for the major Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth and contribute to major British periodicals. In addition to their interviews with Perla Ovitz, her nephew, and her cousin, they tracked down significant medical documentation and archival lists and unearthed original records from Auschwitz.

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