Signifying Pain: Constructing and Healing the Self through Writing

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SUNY Press, Mar 19, 2003 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 304 pages
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A deeply personal yet universal work, Signifying Pain applies the principles of therapeutic writing to such painful life experiences as mental illness, suicide, racism, domestic abuse, and even genocide. Probing deep into the bedrock of literary imagination, Judith Harris traces the odyssey of a diverse group of writers—John Keats, Derek Walcott, Jane Kenyon, Michael S. Harper, Robert Lowell, and Ai, as well as student writers—who have used their writing to work through and past such personal traumas. Drawing on her own experience as a poet and teacher, Harris shows how the process can be long and arduous, but that when exercised within the spirit of one’s own personal compassion, the results can be limitless. Signifying Pain will be of interest not only to teachers of creative and therapeutic writing, but also to those with a critical interest in autobiographical or confessional writing more generally.
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
Speaking Pain Women Psychoanalysis and Writing
17
The Healing Effects of Writing about Pain Literature and Psychoanalysis
19
Violating the SanctuaryAsylum Freudian Treatment of Hysteria in Dora and The Yellow Wallpaper
37
Breaking the Code of Silence Ideology and Womens Confessional Poetry
59
Fathering Daughters Oedipal Rage and Aggression in Womens Writing
81
Carving the Mask of Language Self and Otherness in Dramatic Monologues
109
Giottos Invisible Sheep Lacanian Mirroring and Modeling in Walcotts Another Life
121
Healing Pain Acts of Therapeutic Writing
175
Using the Psychoanalytic Process in Creative Writing Classes
177
Rewriting the Subject Psychoanalytic Approaches to Creative Writing and Composition Pedagogy
191
To Bedlam and Almost All the Way Back The Image and Function of the Institution in Confessional Poetry
219
Asylum A Personal Essay
239
Signifying Pain Recovery and Beyond
249
Afterword
255
Notes
259

Rescuing Psyche Keats Containment of the Beloved but Fading Woman in the Ode to Psyche
135
God Dont Like Ugly Michael S Harpers SoulMaking Music
153
Kenyons Melancholic Vision in Let Evening Come
167

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About the author (2003)

Judith Harris is Assistant Professor of English at George Washington University. She is the author of Atonement: Poems.

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