This volume explores the life stories of Elizabeth Bishop, Virginia Woolf, Alice James, and Edith Wharton, whose individuation process mirrored Demeter/Persephone's mythic journey from abduction and rage to purposeful reconciliation. These authors often courted humiliation and consequent exile by voicing what others did not want to acknowledge, yet each took restorative action to discover and preserve emotional and mental wellbeing. Writing during the 19th and early 20th centuries when an association between female authors and physical ailments, neurasthenia, hysteria, and other nervous complaints by the medical paternity reflected how society in general understood mental illness, as well as the narrative perceptions of women, Bishop, Woolf, James and Wharton, claimed personal autonomy by speaking truth about sorrow and suffering in their lives. Despite restrictions and limiting gender norms, each author continuously recast painful experiences of loss, abuse and mental illness, as fodder for the imagination to forge lasting literary careers.
The book emphasizes the therapeutic value of narrative disclosure and its ability to yield a deeper understanding of the impact of childhood trauma and adversity on women writers, and how their creative response shaped modern culture. As such, it contextualizes trauma as lived experience for each writer, along with current research on early loss and mourning, childhood abuse, and family systems theory, in order to appreciate more fully how writing as ritual may help transform mental and emotional debility.
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Number of pages: 205
Weight: 431 g
Dimensions: 212 x 148 x 23 mm
Edition: Unabridged edition