"The speech of the suffering soul": Four readings of William Styron's darkness visible

Suzanne England, Carol Ganzer, Rose Marie Perez Foster, Carol Tosone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing upon postmodern thinking on narratives and pathologies of the self, we read and commented on William Styron's autobiographical account of his own depression from four different perspectives as follows: culturally situated psychology, feminist-psychoanalytic theory, relational therapy, and cultural/moral constructivist. We explore how multiple readings of the narrative might open up new conceptual space for clinical practice, teaching, and research. Each author read and interpreted Styron's narrative from her own distinct perspective. Where relevant, we looked at such narrative characteristics as metaphor, emplotment, dramatic development, narrator position, and moral meanings. However, these aspects of narrative did not dominate the readings. The readings were so distinctive that they resisted synthesis or thematic analysis, and we offer them as transformative meditations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalPsychoanalytic Social Work
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 22 2006


  • Autobiography
  • Clinical practice
  • Constructivism
  • Depression
  • Feminist theory
  • Moral reasoning
  • Narrative therapy
  • Postmodern
  • Relational therapy
  • William styron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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