Anne Sexton and Middle Generation Poetry: The Geography of Grief

Greenwood Publishing Group
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Focusing on Sexton's poems rather than on the life she led, this fresh critique of her work restarts the debate about her poetry 30 years after her death. McGowan argues that Sexton's poetry collections develop a three-way investigation into the possibilities of language to convey an individual's response to her own existence, to the project of defining love (by physical, human, and divine standards) and to the purpose of the aesthetic in our understanding of these entities. He charts the chronological development of Sexton's poetic aesthetic and provides a new interpretation of this major poet's work.

Informed by the poetic and philosophical works of a number of other writers, McGowan's readings of Sexton's work are detailed and thorough. The work opens with a reconsideration of an early Sexton poem and moves through her other works in a carefully crafted fashion. He argues against the confessional interpretations of earlier readings and resituates the debate into Sexton's poetic territories, concentrating on her words, not her world. Concluding that Sexton's work challenges aesthetic and philosophical issues concerning our existence in this world and how language attempts to respond to such questions, McGowan offers a new approach and a fresh outlook on the poetry Sexton has left us.

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About the author

PHILIP MCGOWAN is Lecturer in American Literature at Goldsmiths' College, University of London. He has previously taught at Trinity College, Dublin. He has published on a range of topics and authors including Middle Generation poetry, temperance literature, John Berryman, and Saul Bellow. His first book was American Carnival: Seeing and Reaing American Culture (Greenwood, 2001).

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Additional Information

Greenwood Publishing Group
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Published on
Dec 31, 2004
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Literary Criticism / American / General
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Eligible for Family Library

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A landmark American drama that inspired a classic film and a Broadway revival—featuring an introduction by David Mamet

A blistering character study and an examination of the American melting pot and the judicial system that keeps it in check, Twelve Angry Men holds at its core a deeply patriotic faith in the U.S. legal system. The play centers on Juror Eight, who is at first the sole holdout in an 11-1 guilty vote. Eight sets his sights not on proving the other jurors wrong but rather on getting them to look at the situation in a clear-eyed way not affected by their personal prejudices or biases. Reginald Rose deliberately and carefully peels away the layers of artifice from the men and allows a fuller picture to form of them—and of America, at its best and worst.
After the critically acclaimed teleplay aired in 1954, this landmark American drama went on to become a cinematic masterpiece in 1957 starring Henry Fonda, for which Rose wrote the adaptation. More recently, Twelve Angry Men had a successful, and award-winning, run on Broadway.

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From the Trade Paperback edition.
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