Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1991. 1st Edition. Octavo, teal cloth over tan paper-covered boards, spine gilt, tan endpapers, original photo-illustrated dust jacket.
"But you, my doctor, my enthusiast, were better than Christ; you promised me another world to tell me who I was." Poet and critic Diane Wood Middlebrook’s pathographic biography on "the only confessional poet," Anne Sexton. The first exhaustive portrait of Sexton’s life and career, this critically acclaimed and best-selling bio was nearly as scandalous as the poet herself. During her ten-year research process, Middlebrook controversially employed 300 tape recordings of Sexton’s psychotherapy sessions with her psychiatrist Dr. Martin Orne as primary source material, provoking a critical debate over doctor-patient confidentiality. Although Sexton’s daughter and literary executor Linda Gray Sexton granted Orne permission to transcribe the audiotapes for Middlebrook, and both agreed the poet (in Orne’s words) "would have jumped at the opportunity to share what we did,', many mental health professionals were outraged, leading the chairman of the ethics committee of the American Psychiatric Association to claim, "A patient's right to confidentiality survives death." Illustrated in black-and-white with personal photographs of Sexton, her family, friends, and early manuscript facsimiles. With extensive endnotes, a bibliography and index. First printing, with complete number row to copyright page. Fine in unclipped dust jacket. Item #2943