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Date of Award
Restricted Thesis: Campus only access
Bachelor of Arts
Allen Ginsberg’s exercise of “wild solidarity” identifies his poems’ speakers with the madness of their subjects, whether by determining the subject as “madder” than or “mad as” the speaker. These speakers define themselves as mad to some degree, which exercises power that the subjects do not have because the madnesses of the subjects have been defined by a psychiatric system rather than the subjects themselves. Ginsberg and his speakers recognize that this power is vested by the objective interests of psychiatry. Though he presents himself as a speaker for the mad in these poems, Ginsberg acknowledges, especially in Kaddish, that he composes his madness and thus avoids a return to a mental institution. While he cannot be the “authentic madman” that Artaud applauds, he can still use the power of lyric poetry to express empathy for such narratives and illustrate the injustices of psychiatry on them. Thus, Ginsberg reclaims the act of self-making from the hands of the psychiatric system.
Kiser, Elizabeth Madison Gabrielle, "“Wild Solidarity”: Allen Ginsberg, Psychiatry, and the Poetic Self in Howl and Kaddish" (2021). Honors Theses. 1572.
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