HENA01143U  English - Elective subject 3: (A)dressing the Wound: on contemporary trauma writing

Volume 2013/2014
Content
(A)dressing the Wound: a selection of contemporary trauma novels

In this course we will discuss a selection of contemporary fiction which re-explores histories of victimhood and oppression from the textually therapeutic approach offered by trauma-studies. As Cathy Caruth argues in her seminal work Unclaimed Experience (1996), the voicing or representation of trauma in writing is always in conflict with the simultaneous urge in the traumatised individual to both forget and remember. The ‘telling’ of traumatic experience annihilates order and continuity in representation and destabilises referential meaning as the traumatic impact has blocked full access to language. We will look at how contemporary fiction processes traumatic experiences in the attempt to ‘represent the un-representable’ through an experimentation with genre and narrative technique.
Texts: Toni Morrison, Beloved; Alice Walker, Possessing the Secret of Joy; Christopher Abani, Graceland; Michael Ondaatje, Anil’s Ghost, Zoë Wicomb, David’s Story and a course compendium of selected critical essays.
Credit
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Other
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