Bardo Thodol

Scope and Content

Autograph drafts of poetry, prose and notes relating to Hughes's work on Bardo Thodol. Hughes was asked to write a libretto for an opera based on Bardo Thodol, The Tibetan Book of the Dead by the Chinese American composer, Chou Wen-chung, when the two met at the Yaddo artist colony in 1959. Hughes wrote in an autobiographical piece that ‘The idea [of the project] absorbed me entirely for several weeks’, however in the end the project did not come to fruition (Add MS 88918/7/1-3). Some papers appear to relate also to Hughes's work on Crow including notes entitled 'Valley of the Father', 'Valley of Trials', 'Gateway of Encounters', 'Valley of the 1st Threshold', 'Valley of the Quest', 'Gestation', 'The Judgement' and 'The Womb'. Other notes are about the 'Egg-being' and include drafts of the poem, 'Eagle Song' and prose about Crow. This folder includes some undated material.

Conditions Governing Access


Not Public Record(s)


A section of Bardo Thodol was published in Daniel's Weissbort's book, Ted Hughes Selected Translations (Faber and Faber, 2006).