The Life and Songs of the Crow

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 58 Add MS 88918/1/23-34
  • Alternative Id.
      (ark) ark:/81055/vdc_100000000047.0x000114
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      12 folders

Scope and Content

Prose and poetry drafts and notes relating to Hughes's continuing work on the Crow project. The original titles written on the folders have been retained for this material. Notes that appear to form an introduction to a poetry reading by Hughes that starts 'The poems I'm going to read belong to the life-story of a character that I call Crow' can be found in Add MS 88918/1/6-8. Further material relating to Crow can be found among Hughes's research notes and files, and his workroom material. The material was originally intended to form part of an epic folk-tale consisting of poetry and prose. The poems were to have been the songs of the Crow and the things, which he encountered during the tale, whilst the prose was to form the narrative. The intention was that the tale would start with Crow's origins and continue as Crow embarked on a journey to find his creator and in doing so recapitulate and correct his and Man's errors. However the redemptive solution to the tale, which Hughes initially planned was not realised in the poetry as the project was not completed as originally intended following the deaths of Assia Wevill and their daughter, Shura. Hughes writing in 1996 described these boxes as being '8 box files of material related to the Life and Songs of Crow' and explained that whilst the Crow material, which was then considered to have been completed or excluded as the work progressed had gone to Emory, the remaining material (i.e. in this archive) was 'active... (in every stage of draft) on which I am still working'. The majority of material in this section is undated.


Original order of papers previously housed in box files under original titles has been retained.

Access Information


Not Public Record(s)