Creating Confessional Narration

Caetlin Benson-Allott : Comparative Literature

Mentor: Professor Charles Altieri, English

Caetlin will explore the evolution of narration in Confessional poetry in the United States during the 1950s-1960s, concentrating on such poets as Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath and Robert Lowell. Through extensive readings in poetry, criticism, and literary and psychoanalytic theory, as well as archival research on the poets mentioned above, Caetlin plans to analyze and relate two of the key influences on Confessional narration, Modernism (the preceding poetic tradition) and psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis, she hypothesizes, gave direction to the Confessionalists’ resistance to Modernist impersonality and thus helped make new poetic subjects and ways of speaking possible. The comparison of these two opposing influences and the effects they had on Confessional poetry will compose Caetlin’s Comparative Literature Senior Honors Thesis.