How I Wrote ‘Capriccio: A Novel’

THE WRITING OF CAPRICCIO I have written three completely different versions of this novel, over fifteen years, each version entailing many drafts. The first novel was called simply ‘Assia’, and was based on what little I knew of her life. Most of my information came from scholarly works on Hughes or Plath, plus a study…

The Invisible Woman

 “The invisible woman: A Review of ‘Lover of Unreason’ by Eilat Negev and Yehuda Koren, by Peter Porter. Reprinted from The Guardian Oct 2006 The title of this all-encompassing biography of Assia Wevill, ‘Lover of Unreason’,  refers to Assia’s self-chosen epitaph, with she wanted engraved on her tombstone.  It perhaps reflects her descent into depression…

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Ted Hughes, Assia, and the Kabbalah

  Kabbalah (Hebrew קַבָּלָה‎)  literally means “receiving/tradition”. It is an ancient series of spiritual teachings originating in the twelfth century BC, in the town of Safed in Palestine. Notes found in Ted Hughes’ loose leaf notebook in the British Library summarise the story of a Jewish Talmudist, Rabbah bar Hannah, who set down  his life story of…

Folktale: Excerpt from “Capriccio: a Novel”

it was a cat-and-mouse game between the lovers. In his poetry, TH referred to his mistress as ‘a magnificent leopard’ in his set of poems to her, called ‘Capriccio’. I’ve used this for the title of my novel. Each chapter refers to one of these 20 poems. The excerpt above is from an earlier draft of…

The meaning of ‘Capriccio’

DICTIONARY DEFINITION OF CAPRICCIO | kəˈprɪtʃɪəʊ | noun (plural capriccios) 1 a lively piece of music, typically one that is short and free in form: its four acts contain a number of capriccios and chorales. 2 a painting or other work of art representing a fantasy or a mixture of real and imaginary features: two capriccios by de la Joue which fitted 18th century frames. ORIGIN: early 17th century (denoting a sudden change of mind): from Italian,…