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“Every Time You Call Me Crazy I Get More Crazy”: Sylvia Plath, Taylor Swift, and Confessional Performances


  • Kajsa Reinholdsson

Summary, in English

This thesis explores the works and personas of Sylvia Plath and Taylor Swift and analyses the popular conflations of their real lives and their works. Jon Helt Haarder’s theory of biographical performativity is introduced to analyse the threshold aesthetics between reality and art and investigate the feedback loops between oeuvres andlives as well as the interpretation of these in the public sphere. The framework of mad studies is used to investigate how both the works and personas of Plath and Swift have been received and interpreted through the lens of modernist, sanist social structures. Reading practices informed by the mad movement are utilized, with the aim to reveal and subvert the dichotomy that values “objectivity”, “reality” and “fact” over “subjectivity”, “fantasy” and “emotion”,
arguing instead that they are deeply interdependent. Plath’s and Swift’s oeuvres are analysed as speech acts with social functions, while their personas are investigated as textually constructed products. Using Plath and Swift as illustrative examples, this thesis also examines the moral issues haunting the production and interpretation of mimetic art.


  • Master's Programme: Literature - Culture - Media

Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Sylvia Plath
  • Taylor Swift
  • biographical performativity
  • mad studies
  • mad theory
  • auto/biography
  • confessional poetry


  • Barbara Barrow