Get Contemporary American Trauma Narratives PDF

By Alan Gibbs

This booklet appears to be like on the means writers current the results of trauma of their paintings. It explores narrative units, akin to 'metafiction', in addition to occasions in modern the USA, together with September 11, the Iraq conflict, and reactions to the Bush management. modern American authors who're mentioned extensive comprise Carol Shields, Toni Morrison, Tim O'Brien, Mark Danielewski, paintings Spiegelman, Jonathan Safran Foer, Anthony Swofford, Evan Wright, Paul Auster, Philip Roth, and Michael Chabon. modern American Trauma Narratives bargains a well timed and dissenting intervention into debates approximately American writers' depiction of trauma and its after-effects.

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Additional info for Contemporary American Trauma Narratives

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The post-structuralist observation that reality, general quotidian existence, cannot be captured in language or literature has been widely accepted, and so to plead the representation of trauma as a special case is clearly dubious. The notion of transmissibility, and the demand that trauma writers should seek to transmit rather than represent, has been criticised on other grounds, not least that transmissibility is no more possible than representation. Kansteiner, for example, witheringly dismisses transmissibility, or second-hand trauma, observing that there is actually a ‘vast, unchartered psychological territory that lies between the experience of extreme trauma on the one hand and the much more frequent encounter with representations of violence on the other’ (195).

Luckhurst clearly has in mind here a literary practice which employs certain disruptive formal techniques of postmodernism – most familiarly, perhaps, fragmented, non-linear chronologies, repetition, shifts in narrating voice, and a resultantly decentred subjectivity – in order to represent or attempt to transmit trauma. Some of the founding postmodernist novels, including Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude and Günter Grass’s The Tin Drum, indeed employ what were then startlingly disruptive techniques partly in order to represent the effects of historical traumas upon their protagonists.

Ruth Leys’s Trauma: A Genealogy and Roger Luckhurst’s The Trauma Question are particularly recommended in this respect. 2. Indeed, even some of the originating theory is elusive when it notes the way in which the development of PTSD as a set of diagnostic criteria came about following Vietnam. ] on the legacies of Vietnam delineated the syndrome of post-traumatic stress disorder and demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt its direct relationship to combat exposure’ (27, emphasis added).  . Thus the syndrome of psychological trauma, periodically forgotten and periodically rediscovered through the past century, finally attained formal recognition within the diagnostic canon’ (28, emphasis added).

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