Imagining incest: Sexton, Plath, Rich, and Olds on life with daddy
Imagining Incest examines daughter-father relations as depicted in the poetry of Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, and Sharon Olds. Swiontkowski demonstrates a progression in these relations from daughter as victim of the father in Sexton and Plath to daughter as rebel against the father in Rich to daughter as successor of the father in Olds. Each poet utilizes the poetic motif of incest in varying degrees to convey this developing relationship, and Swiontkowski shows that the straggles and triumphs inherent in this imagined relationship parallel many of the issues raised in the recent social crisis of recovered memories. Imagining Incest thus casts light on a painful social issue and extends the hope that comparing these four modern women poets demonstrates that women who have suffered under the tyranny of a patriarchal system can rebel and overcome by confronting and redefining the incestuous nature of their relations with the fathers of society.
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Adrienne Rich adult Anne Sexton archetypal become castration child compliance confessional poetry creation creative culture Daddy daugh DeJean demon-lover depicts desire Durkheim early poems Electra Electra complex emotional experience of incest explore fantasy father-figure father-imago father's death female feminist Freud Gnostic story identifies imagination imago incest motif incest prohibition incest quest incest taboo individual Jacqueline Rose Jung Jung's language later lesbian Levi-Strauss Linda Gray Sexton literary living male poets masculine memories of incest modern mother Nin's Oedipal Oedipal complex Olds's Otto Rank parents patriarchal society patriarchal system penis phallus physical Plath and Sexton poetic poetry potential psyche psychic psychological reality realm recovered memories relations relationship Rich's role Sappho seeks seems sense Sexton and Plath sexual abuse Sharon Olds social power speak spiritual story of Sophia Sylvia Plath symbolic Father Terrible Father theory tion traditional turn unconscious victims volume Warbucks woman women poets