Manic power: Robert Lowell and his circle

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9780877959205: Manic power: Robert Lowell and his circle
From Publishers Weekly:

The four men whose intertwined lives are examined here for possible connection between madness and genius are considered among the greatest American poets of this century. The leader, perhaps because of his patrician origins as much as his excellence as a poet, is Lowell; those who looked to him are Randall Jarrell, John Berryman and Theodore Roethke. The four shared and expressed the view that madness is a personal source of poetic creativity as well as a reflection of contemporary society. Mental breakdown, extensive therapy, alcoholism, failed marriages and suicide were part of their sharing. As Meyers underscores, "The poets competed with each other in madness as an art, and flaunted their illness as a leper shows sores." An epilogue is devoted to the self-destructive poet Sylvia Plath, who Meyers, a professor at the University of Colorado, believes was influenced by these poets in the expression of her mental anguish.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

This brief and bluntly clinical group biography and cultural history claims that, reacting to both the shared family pattern of weak or absent father/domineering mother and a society fascinated by self-destruction, Robert Lowell, father of "confessional" poetry, and his envious contemporaries Randall Jarrell, John Berryman, and Theodore Roethke nourished one another's insanity. Their mental problems inspired them, served as the material for their poetry, and made them appearat least to themselvesthe hero-victims of the age. "Epilogue: Sylvia Plath" rounds out Meyers's anecdote-rich study, which supplements without duplicating Eileen Simpson's Poets in Their Youth ( LJ 4/15/82) and Ian Hamilton's biography Robert Lowell ( LJ 12/1/82). Charles C. Nash, English Dept., Cottey Coll., Nevada, Mo.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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