Elizabeth Bowen and the Writing of Trauma

The Ethics of Survival


Elizabeth Bowen and the Writing of Trauma analyses the treatment of memory and the past in Bowen’s writing through the lens of trauma theory. It draws on the theories of Jacques Derrida, Hélène Cixous, Julia Kristeva, Sigmund Freud, and Cathy Caruth, to propose that Bowen’s work is best understood through the psychological, narratological, and linguistic effects of trauma in her fiction. Bowen’s writing complicates existing deconstructive and psychoanalytic models of trauma and literature, and testifies to the responsibility of survival and the ethics of bearing witness.

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Introduction: “We Must Live How We Can”
Chapter 1: Wound: The Hotel and To the North
Chapter 2: Supplement: The Last September
Chapter 3: Remains: The House in Paris and Friends and Relations
Chapter 4: Death Sleep: The Death of the Heart
Chapter 5: Safe: Wartime Short Fiction
Chapter 6: Unknown: The Heat of the Day
Chapter 7: Post: A World of Love
Chapter 8: Crypt: The Little Girls
Chapter 9: However: Eva Trout, or Changing Scenes