HENB01143U English - Elective 3, topic 3: (Ad)dressing the Wound: a selection of contemporary trauma novels

Volume 2015/2016

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; Michael Ondaatje, Anil’s Ghost, Taiye Selasi, Ghana Must Go (2013); Zoë Wicomb, David’s Story and a course compendium of selected critical essays. All novels available from the campus book shop and critical essays at ABSALON.  

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 162,75
  • Total
  • 204,75
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assesment