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This Business of WordsReassessing Anne Sexton$
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Amanda Golden

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062204

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062204.001.0001

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Anne Sexton’s Photographic Self-Fashioning

Anne Sexton’s Photographic Self-Fashioning

(p.38) 2 Anne Sexton’s Photographic Self-Fashioning
This Business of Words

Anita Helle

University Press of Florida

For many readers who have engaged Anne Sexton’s work, her play before the camera in photographs (both still and moving images) is inextricably linked to dynamics of woman’s looked-at-ness and to modes of confessional display. As Sexton’s fame has grown —in her era and in ours—her legacy in photographs has been treated a problem, an issue, an aspect of celebrity to be summarily dismissed (“exhibitionistic”) or selectively disavowed in the interest of a putatively more serious interest in a body of artistic work. This chapter presents an alternative, materially inspired reading of Sexton’s public authorial legend and the photographic references in her writing in which those two bodies—the lyric body and the photographed body—are less comfortably divisible.

Keywords:   Photographs, Celebrity, Fame, Anne Sexton, Exhibitionistic

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