Transgressing Boundaries: A Geography of Anne Sexton's Spirituality

Nova Americana

Floriana Puglisi

What are the place and the meaning of religion in Anne Sexton's writing? In which way is it possible to describe the poet as a deeply religious writer and yet cope with her embarrassing exclusion from the canons of religious literature? How can the paradox of contradictory and unilateral portraits - the submissive Christian and the defiant heretic - be explained and overcome?

These are the basic and relevant questions raised by this book in the attempt to solve the "enigma" of Anne Sexton's spirituality and/or of her relationship with institutional religions. Analyzing the writer's production from the beginning to the end of her career and paying attention to both published and unpublished works, Transgressing Boundaries reads the writer's "idiosyncrasies" and "eccentricities" in the light of her influent Puritan heritage, on the one hand, and of her clearly gendered perspective, on the other.

Drawing from the counter-tradition of female spirituality and from the multi-faceted debate produced in the domain of Feminist Theology, it interprets Sexton's love and anger, revisions and attacks, reliance on and, at the same time, transgression of religious, social, and sexual boundaries as her own serious involvement in and contribution to theological discourse; as the experience and response of a woman, who tries hard to deal with a biblical tradition that has instead misrepresented, repressed and/or silenced women.

"I am pretty God Damn religious if you want to look at it," wrote once Anne Sexton. Accepting the poet's invitation, this is what the author of this text does: she "looks at" the religious confessions Sexton made on the page, and then accurately inquires into the issues implied by the forms of her composite spirituality.



ISBN 9788887503951