Ted Hughes and Trauma

Burning the Foxes

  • Danny O'Connor

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Danny O’Connor
    Pages 23-39
  3. Danny O’Connor
    Pages 41-58
  4. Danny O’Connor
    Pages 79-97
  5. Danny O’Connor
    Pages 99-119
  6. Danny O’Connor
    Pages 121-139
  7. Danny O’Connor
    Pages 141-161
  8. Danny O’Connor
    Pages 183-190
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 191-204

About this book


This book is a radical re-appraisal of the poetry of Ted Hughes, placing him in the context of continental theorists such as Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida and Slavoj Zizek to address the traumas of his work. As an undergraduate, Hughes was visited in his sleep by a burnt fox/man who left a bloody handprint on his essay, warning him of the dangers of literary criticism. Hereafter, criticism became ‘burning the foxes’. This book offers a defence of literary criticism, drawing Hughes’ poetry and prose into the network of theoretical work he dismissed as ‘the tyrant’s whisper’ by demonstrating a shared concern with trauma.

Covering a wide range of Hughes’ work, it explores the various traumas that define his writing. Whether it is comparing his idea of man as split from nature with that of Jacques Lacan, considering his challenging relationship with language in light of Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida, seeing him in the art gallery and at the movies with Gilles Deleuze, or considering his troubled relationship with femininity in regard to Teresa Brennan and Slavoj Žižek, Burning the Foxes offers a fresh look at a familiar poet.


literary criticism animal poetry war poetry landscape poetry biographical poetry The Burnt Fox personal trauma Sylvia Plath Birthday Letters Lupercal Crow Slavoj Zizek Jacques Lacan Jacques Derrida T.S. Eliot First World War Second World War existentialism dissociation of sensibility conservatism

Authors and affiliations

  • Danny O'Connor
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information