“Mad Comrades Singing”: Dramatizations of Madness in Sylvia Plath and Allen Ginsberg

Zoe Doucette

Abstract


Allen Ginsberg and Sylvia Plath are iconic figures of the mid-twentieth century, each with a coterie of devoted readers who take the poems very much to heart. What Ginsberg says of his own work is true for Plath’s poems as well: readers “see things in me that are like things in them.” But as Plath insists, there is more to the poems, and to the writing of them, than just exposing one’s feelings:  “I cannot sympathize with these cries from the heart that are informed by nothing except a needle or a knife, or whatever it is . . . [O]ne should be able to manipulate these experiences with an informed and an intelligent mind.” Zoe Doucette takes on the task of showing how these two stylistically diverse poets make great art out of personal suffering.

Dr. Bruce Greenfield


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