<i>The past as revenant: trauma and haunting in Pat Barker's</i> Another World

Anne Whitehead

in Trauma Fiction

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2004 | ISBN: 9780748618576
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651726 | DOI:
The past as revenant: trauma and haunting in Pat Barker's Another World

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This chapter considers the implications of Cathy Caruth's conceptualisation of trauma for narrative fiction and looks at Pat Barker's Another World, the sequel to the Regeneration trilogy. In the first part, the discussion notes that Caruth's work suggests that if trauma is susceptible to narrative formulation, then it requires a literary form which departs from the conventional linear sequence. The ghost is a proper embodiment of the disjunction of temporality, as well as the surfacing of the past in the present. Several novels that explore haunted histories are identified and discussed. The second half argues that Barker's novel presents a version of history as revenant, and that the ghosts represent the trauma of recent history and a form of cultural or collective haunting. The chapter also considers the possibility of exorcising the ghosts of the past.

Keywords: Cathy Caruth; Pat Barker; trauma; narrative fiction; narrative formulation; temporality; ghost; haunted histories; exorcism; collective haunting

Chapter.  7467 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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