Daddy, Daddy/Mammy, Mammy: Sylvia Plath and Thomas Kinsella

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Browne, Andrew
Issue Date
Indiana University
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In his memoir The Kick: a Life among Writers,Richard Murphy recalls Thomas and Eleanor Kinsella joining Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes and himself in Ireland (Murphy, 226-27). Kinsella softens any profound inferences from this meeting in a 1989 interview with Dennis O’Driscoll. In response to O’Driscoll’s comment on the ‘torrid atmosphere’ of the meeting Kinsella says: It doesn’t strike me in retrospect as having been very torrid. It was just a couple of people having trouble. It didn’t have the heavy implications that her subsequent suicide gave it. We went out fishing and, as far as I am concerned, those fish coming up on the hooks were the exciting thing. But we did enjoy her company, and we did drive her back to Dublin; and that’s as much as I remember of it. (O’Driscoll, 59) This remark does not support any spectacular influence between Kinsella and Plath, and this critic is in no position to infer a direct impact upon Kinsella’s work from Plath’s, yet this essay will show connections between Plath’s and Kinsella’s poetry in their psychological imagery. I will also highlight differences while making certain assumptions about the way images of the masculine and feminine are interrogated, and how they impact their personal lives.