Download e-book for iPad: American Writers, Supplement XV by Leonard Unger, Jay Parini

By Leonard Unger, Jay Parini

ISBN-10: 0684313065

ISBN-13: 9780684313061

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Extra info for American Writers, Supplement XV

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Through their story, Bidart further elucidates the inescapability of one’s desires. He shows that Myrrha realizes that her desire for her father is destructive and wrong—she tries unsuccessfully to commit suicide—but she cannot help herself. Myrrha’s desire provides Bidart with a type that has implications for all love, sanctioned and unsanctioned. Her desire is an inescapable given, 34 / AMERICAN WRITERS and as Bidart told Andrew Rathmann in an interview, “There’s no solution to Myrrha’s life”.

The struggle between the mind and the body suggested by “The Arc” comes even more acutely into focus in “Ellen West,” one of Bidart’s best-known dramatic poems. Based on the case study of an anorexic patient that was recorded by the existential psychiatrist Ludwig Binswanger, “Ellen West” explores the woman’s struggle with her disorder. Bidart uses this material to address larger, existential and metaphysical questions. ” Bidart shows that while this struggle appears to be in the realm of the merely physical, it has a crucial metaphysical dimension.

Indeed, Bidart told Halliday that White represents a kind of “anti-self” for him, someone “whose way of ‘solving problems’ was the opposite of that of the son in the middle of the book” (Western Night). He also underscores the idea that White’s way of splitting himself off from his own behavior can be a coping mechanism for other, presumably “normal” people. In addition to presenting subject matter that will continue to obsess and possess Bidart, the poems in Golden State make a strong aesthetic statement.

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American Writers, Supplement XV by Leonard Unger, Jay Parini


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