“Their heads shall be crowned with laurel in oblivion”: Aspects of Madness in Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” and “Kaddish”Riku Hyppönen
Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
This essay examines madness in Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” and “Kaddish”, and arguesthat in these texts madness is used as a device to oppose the oppressive restrictions ofnormativity, and to portray the use of institutional power to categorise the subject. In“Howl”, the subject’s use madness as a resistance to counter normativity, as the subjectsrebel against the norms through behaviour deemed as madness. In “Kaddish”,Ginsberg’s portrayal of his mother’s madness aims to present the individual behindthe institutionalisation. In addition, both texts showcase the use of power as punishmenton the body, and how this fails to affect the pure soul, which is in the texts presentedas the self of the subject. Finally, in “Howl”, madness appears as a transcendingphenomenon, employed by the subjects to seek a state of consciousness freedfrom normativity.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Allen Ginsberg, Howl, Kaddish, madness, normativity, transgression, power
Languages and Literature
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-131160OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-131160DiVA: diva2:936564