"Not God but a swastika : power, history and transcendence in Plath's poems
Myers, James Morgan
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This paper deals with the critique of power, transcendence and the individual’s relationship to history posed by Sylvia Plath primarily in her later poems. By implicating the position of God in the same field of relations and exchanges as any other position, Plath undermines the metaphysical authorization that makes power appear natural and transcendence possible. In the process, she moves toward an understanding of the self as historically and linguistically constructed from the start, through and through—never the self-engendering essence or “soul” that experiences outside influences as contamination of a transcendental purity. Ultimately, she gestures beyond transcendence as a solution to the problem of the self in history, towards a diligent living in the world that recognizes and supports the existence of the other.