Sylvia Plath and the Theatre of Mourning

Hardcover | December 9, 1999

byChristina Britzolakis

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The history of Plath's reception as a writer has been beset by the language of scandal. Psychobiographical speculation, combined with the controversy surrounding the posthumous publication of her work, has dominated critical debate at the expense of her poetic achievement. In new contrast,Sylvia Plath and the Theatre of Mourning offers a theoretically informed yet extremely readable engagement with the texts themselves. The book challenges the critical tendency to see Plath's writing in `confessional' terms and draws attention to the crucial and hitherto neglected dimension of self-reflexivity. Christina Britzolakis argues that Plath developed a theatrical conception of the speaking subject which made the work ofmourning inseparable from its performance in language: she shows how Plath explored the potentialities and limits of figurative language, and also engaged with the legacy of modernism, to arrive at this distinctive mode. Interweaving close reading and theoretical reflection, Sylvia Plath and theTheatre of Mourning constructs a framework of interpretation which attends to the formal complexity of the texts without detaching them either from their historical moment or from contemporary debates about language, gender, and subjectivity.

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The history of Plath's reception as a writer has been beset by the language of scandal. Psychobiographical speculation, combined with the controversy surrounding the posthumous publication of her work, has dominated critical debate at the expense of her poetic achievement. In new contrast,Sylvia Plath and the Theatre of Mourning offers...

Lecturer, Department of Literature and Comparative Literature, University of Warwick
Format:HardcoverPublished:December 9, 1999Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198183739

ISBN - 13:9780198183730

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsAbbreviations1. Distorting Mirrors2. Legacies and Dispossessions3. Tending the Oracle4. Gothic Subjectivity5. The Spectacle of Femininity6. Plath's Negations7. Sylvia Plath and the Theatre of MourningBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`at times an insightful study.'Tim Kendall, March 2001