Neo-Victorian Tropes of Trauma: The Politics of Bearing by Marie-Luise Kohlke, Christian Gutleben

By Marie-Luise Kohlke, Christian Gutleben

This assortment constitutes the 1st quantity in Rodopi's Neo-Victorian sequence, which explores the commonly used, yet usually challenging, re-vision of the lengthy 19th century in modern tradition. this is awarded for the 1st time a longer research of the conjunction of neo-Victorian fiction and trauma discourse, highlighting the numerous interventions in collective reminiscence staged by means of the belated aesthetic working-through of historic catastrophes, in addition to their strains within the current. The neo-Victorian's privileging of marginalised voices and its contestation of masternarratives of historic development build a patchwork of competing yet both valid types of the earlier, highlighting on-going crises of existential extremity, fact and which means, nationhood and subjectivity. This quantity could be of curiosity to either researchers and scholars of the transforming into box of neo-Victorian stories, in addition to students in trauma concept, ethics, and reminiscence and historical past reports. Interrogating techniques of cultural commemoration and forgetting and the way to ethically characterize the affliction of cultural and temporal others, the gathering negotiates the enticements of appropriative empathy and voyeuristic spectacle, whereas for all time suffering from the critical paradox: the moral principal to undergo after-witness to history's silenced sufferers within the face of the capability unrepresentability of utmost ache.

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Additional resources for Neo-Victorian Tropes of Trauma: The Politics of Bearing After-Witness to Nineteenth-Century Suffering.

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Trauma: A Genealogy. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Luckhurst, Roger. 2008. The Trauma Question. London & New York: Routledge. Lyotard, Jean-François. 1990. Heidegger and ‘the Jews’ (tr. A. Michel and M. Roberts). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. –––. 1993. Moralités postmodernes. Paris: Galilée. –––. 1988. The Differend: phrases in dispute (tr. Georges van den Abbeele). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. McReynolds, Louise. 2003. Russia at Play: Leisure Activities at the End of the Tsarist Era.

As Hatley explains, some critics, including Berel Lang and Lawrence Langer, have argued strongly against the use of figurative language, believing that testimony “must free itself from any influence that would stand between the reader and the event itself” (Hatley 2000: 108). This may include such features as metaphors, irony, repetition, mise en abyme, fantasy, symbols and, of course, tropes, which draw undue attention to themselves and to the writer’s deliberate formulation of her or his discourse, thereby creating “a literary as opposed to historical space of representation” (Hatley 2000: 108, original emphasis).

What makes these literal and metaphorical texts such relevant tropes of trauma is exactly such temporal elasticity and connectivity, as well as their outright function as transmittable property, passed on between generations. Just as significantly, however, such works may be produced not only by those undergoing trauma but also those inflicting it, compulsively revealing their implication in the suffering of others. S. Byatt’s The Children’s Book (2009), for example, obsessively displays the violated bodies of his daughters, thus rendering visible secret sexual acts never actually represented in the novel.

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