Creating Memory and Cultural Identity in African American Trauma Fiction


How do contemporary African American authors relate trauma, memory, and the recovery of the past with the processes of cultural and identity formation in African American communities?
Patricia San José analyses a variety of novels by authors like Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, and David Bradley and explores these works as valuable instruments for the disclosure, giving voice, and public recognition of African American collective and historical trauma.

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Patricia San José Rico, Ph.D. (2013), University of Valladolid, Spain, is an Assistant Professor at that university. She has published several articles and book chapters on trauma and African American literature.
Acknowledgments 1 Introduction 2 Cultural, Collective, and Literary Trauma: Foundations for Analysis  1 Trauma: What it Is, How it Feels, What it Does  2 Collective Trauma  3 A “Story to Pass on”? Trauma and its Transmission  4 Trauma, Memory and Space: Sites of Memory/Sites of Trauma  5 Trauma Writing/Writing Trauma  6 Trauma Fiction 3 History, Roots and Myth: Toni Morrison’s Paradise and Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day  1 History and Traumatic Memory  2 Paradise: The Perils of Sublimated History   2.1 History Revisited   2.2 This, you Must Learn: The Elders’ Exaltation of History   2.3 Not the Truth, after all: Archival Work and the Unearthing of the Secret   2.4 “An Endless Cycle of Repetition”: Inverted Racism and Violence   2.5 Wind of Change: When the Out There Reaches Paradise   2.6 Breaking the Cycle of Repetition: Sharing Trauma  3 Know thy Roots: Mama Day and the Significance of the Past   3.1 Dynamic Memory vs. Stagnant History   3.2 The Day Family: A Trauma within the Folds of Memory   3.3 The Need for Roots: George and Cocoa 4 The Dangers of Repression/Suppression: Toni Morrison’s Beloved  1 Trauma and Hidden Memory  2 Beloved: The F/ Hateful Power of Repressed Trauma   2.1 “The Unspeakable”: Repressive Signs in Beloved’s Characters   2.2 A Ghost (Hi)story: Beloved as the Return of the Repressed   2.3 Voicing it out: The Attempt and Failure of the Talking Cure   2.4 The Light at the End of the Tunnel: Denver and Recovery from Trauma 5 The Recovery of History: Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon and David Bradley’s the Chaneysville Incident  1 A Quest for One’s Past: Individuals, Collectivities, and Recovered Memory  2 The Truth Shall Make you Fly: Unearthing the Past in Song of Solomon   2.1 Trauma in Song of Solomon   2.2 That’s Not My Thing: Milkman’s Initial Disinterest in the Past   2.3 Of Roots and Ancestors: The Recovery of History as a Treasure Hunt   2.4 It Is All in There: Myth, Tales and Folk Culture as a Repository of Memory   2.5 Lieux de Mémoire: Places of History and the History in Places   2.6 Hallowed Be thy Name: Naming and the Power of Designation   2.7 Learning (in order) to Fly: The Acquisition of Historical Knowledge as a Liberating Process   2.8 Turning the Tables: Reversal of Stigmas and our Debt to the Future  3 Digging up History: The Chaneysville Incident and the Ethnic Historian   3.1 Historians vs. Archeologists: Study or Action?   3.2 Scholarly Knowledge vs. Ancestral Wisdom   3.3 The Contesting and Therapeutic Value of Recovering the Past   3.4 The Coalescence of Fact and Fiction: Bridging Genres and Cultures 6 Epilogue: Is Closure Possible? The use of Trauma in Art as a Vehicle for Political Struggle  1 “National Amnesia”: Searching for its Cure  2 Fighting Our Own Battles: The Use of Trauma in Political Struggle  3 Trauma as Art or the Art of Trauma?  4 Is Closure Possible? Works Cited Index
Scholars and graduate students interested in trauma studies, African American literature, literary analysis and the formation of cultural and collective identity.