Trauma Fiction

Anne Whitehead

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2004 | ISBN: 9780748618576
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651726 | DOI:
Trauma Fiction

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)


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The literary potential of trauma is examined in this book, bringing trauma theory and literary texts together to focus on the ways in which contemporary novelists explore the theme of trauma and incorporate its structures into their writing. It provides readings of texts by Pat Barker, Jackie Kay, Anne Michaels, Toni Morrison, Caryl Phillips, W. G. Sebald and Binjamin Wilkomirski. The book also considers the ways in which trauma has affected fictional form, exploring how novelists have responded to the challenge of writing traumatic narratives and identifying the key stylistic features associated with the genre. In addition, it introduces the reader to key critics in the field of trauma theory such as Cathy Caruth, Shoshana Felman and Geoffrey Hartman. The linking of trauma theory and literary texts not only sheds light on works of contemporary fiction, it also points to the inherent connections between trauma theory and the literary, which have often been overlooked. The distinction between literary theme and style in the book opens up major questions regarding the nature of trauma itself. Trauma, like the novels discussed, is shown to take an uncertain but productive place between content and form.

Keywords: trauma; trauma theory; novelists; fictional form; traumatic narratives; literary texts; contemporary fiction; content; form; stylistic features

Book.  192 pages. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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Conclusion in Trauma Fiction


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