In his latter years, he worked on a series of novels, called The Human Predicament, a massive project in which he explored the social, economic, political and moral forces which shaped the period 1918-1945. Although only two of these novels, The Fox in the Attic (1961) and The Wooden Shepherdess (1973), were completed, Hughes's achievement has been widely praised. No other twentieth century novelist has so successfully transposed history into fiction.
Richard Poole, who lived near Hughes in north Wales and who came to know and admire him, has written the first biographical and critical study of this major author. The first part of this book reveals more than ever before the extrordinary life of this remarkable man, who was a successful playwright before he left Oxford University, who wrote the first radio play, who undertook amazing adventures in the Balkans and Morocco, and who, for nearly the whole of his life, exhibited a deep attachment to Wales.
The second and longer part of the book is a detailed examination of Hughes's work: his plays, poems, short stories and the novels. This is a study enriched by Poole's intimate knowledge of the man and his sources. Hughes emerges as a writer of staggering versatility, fastidious craftmanship and deep humanity.
Richard Poole, poet and critic, was born in Bradford and educated at the University College of North Wales, Bangor. He was for many years Tutor in Literature at Coleg Harlech. His publications include volumes of poetry and he is a former editor of Poetry Wales. An authority on the work of Richard Hughes, he has edited the writer's early stories, In the Lap of Atlas (1979) and a selection of his literary writings, Fiction as Truth (1983).