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Silverman, M.A., Will, N.P. (1986). Sylvia Plath and the Failure of Emotional Self-Repair Through Poetry. Psychoanal Q., 55:99-129.

(1986). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 55:99-129

Sylvia Plath and the Failure of Emotional Self-Repair Through Poetry

Martin A. Silverman, M.D. and Norman P. Will, Ph.D.

ABSTRACT

Creativity serves not only an aesthetic function but also psychological self-repair for the creative artist. The authors examine the failure of Sylvia Plath's efforts to control her suicidal violence and to bridge her isolation from others via the shared affective experience of poetry. At first, she used traditional forms and mediated images, but when she abandoned them for a more personal expressive art, she lost the shaping, controlling devices she had been using for self-containment and self-repair. They were no longer available to her when she underwent a sweeping narcissistic regression following some very stressful life events. Her emotional deterioration ultimately cost her her life.

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