These essays discuss trauma studies as refracted through literature, focusing on the many ways in which the terms ‘cultural trauma’ and ‘personal trauma’ intertwine in postcolonial fiction. In a catastrophic age such as the present, trauma itself may serve to provide linkage through cross-cultural understanding and new forms of community. Western colonization needs to be theorized in terms of the infliction of collective trauma, and the postcolonial process is itself a post-traumatic cultural formation and condition. Moreover, the West’s claim on trauma studies (via the Holocaust) needs to be put in a perspective recuperating other, non-Western experiences.
Geo-historical areas covered include Africa (genital alteration) and, more specifically, South Africa (apartheid), the Caribbean (racial and gendered violence in Trinidad; the trauma of Haiti), and Asia (total war in the Philippines; ethnic violence in India compared to 9/11). Special attention is devoted to Australia (Aboriginal and multicultural aspects of traumatic experience) and New Zealand (the Maori Battalion). Writers treated include J.M. Coetzee, Shani Mootoo, Edwidge Danticat, Richard Flanagan, Janette Turner Hospital, Andrew McGahan, Tim Winton, and Patricia Grace. Illuminating insights are provided by creative writers (Merlinda Bobis and Meena Alexander).
Contributors: Meena Alexander, Heinz Antor, Bárbara Arizti, Merlinda Bobis, Donna Coates, Marc Delrez, Maite Escudero, Isabel Fraile, Aitor Ibarrola-Armendáriz, Susana Onega, Chantal Zabus.
Dolores Herrero and Sonia Baelo–Allué teach at the University of Zaragoza. Dolores Herrero has published on Victorian and postcolonial literature, in particular Australian and Indian authors, and on film and cultural studies. She is the co-editor, with Marita Nadal, of Margins in British and American Literature, Film and Culture (1997). Sonia Baelo–Allué’s current research centres on trauma literature and 9/11 fiction. She has published widely on blank fiction writers, intermediality, and the representation of violence in literature. She is currently preparing a book on Bret Easton Ellis.
"This volume makes an important step towards shaping the more particularized understanding of postcolonial trauma necessary to this field." – Kerry Bystrom, University of Connecticut
From Official History to Individual and Collective Trauma
Aitor Ibarrola–Armendáriz: Broken Memories of a Traumatic Past and the Redemptive Power of Narrative in the Fiction of Edwidge Danticat
Donna Coates: “When the World is Free”: Traumatized Soldiers in Patricia Grace’s Second World War Novel Tu
Merlinda Bobis: Passion to Pasyon: Playing Militarism
Meena Alexander: Poetics of Dislocation: Trauma, Language, Memory
Women and Cultural/Colonial Trauma
Susana Onega: Trauma, Madness, and the Ethics of Narration in J.M. Coetzee’s In the Heart of the Country
Maite Escudero: “Softer than Cotton, Stronger than Steel”: Metaphor and Trauma in Shani Mootoo’s Cereus Blooms at Night
Chantal Zabus: Haunting Wounds: Genital Alterations, Autobiography, and Trauma
The Australian Apology and Trauma of Unbelonging
Bárbara Arizti: Personal Trauma/Historical Trauma in Tim Winton’s Dirt Music
Marc Delrez: “Twisted Ghosts”: Settler Envy and Historical Resolution in Andrew McGahan’s The White Earth
Heinz Antor: The Trauma of Immigration and the Ethics of Self-Positioning in Richard Flanagan’s The Sound of One Hand Clapping
Isabel Fraile: Inside Out in the Land Down Under: Reading Trauma through Janette Turner Hospital’s Oyster
Notes on Contributors