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Haunting Legacies: Violent Histories and Transgenerational Trauma

Overview

From mass murder to genocide, slavery to colonial suppression, acts of atrocity have lives that extend far beyond the horrific moment. They engender trauma that echoes for generations, in the experiences of those on both sides of the act. Gabriele Schwab reads these legacies in a number of narratives, primarily through the writing of postwar Germans and the descendents of Holocaust survivors. She connects their work to earlier histories of slavery and colonialism and to more recent events, such as South African ...

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Haunting Legacies: Violent Histories and Transgenerational Trauma

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Overview

From mass murder to genocide, slavery to colonial suppression, acts of atrocity have lives that extend far beyond the horrific moment. They engender trauma that echoes for generations, in the experiences of those on both sides of the act. Gabriele Schwab reads these legacies in a number of narratives, primarily through the writing of postwar Germans and the descendents of Holocaust survivors. She connects their work to earlier histories of slavery and colonialism and to more recent events, such as South African Apartheid, the practice of torture after 9/11, and the "disappearances" that occurred during South American dictatorships.

Schwab's texts include memoirs, such as Ruth Kluger's Still Alive and Marguerite Duras's La Douleur; second-generation accounts by the children of Holocaust survivors, such as Georges Perec's W, Art Spiegelman's Maus, and Philippe Grimbert's Secret; and second-generation recollections by Germans, such as W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz, Sabine Reichel's What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?, and Ursula Duba's Tales from a Child of the Enemy. She also incorporates her own reminiscences of growing up in postwar Germany, mapping interlaced memories and histories as they interact in psychic life and cultural memory. Schwab concludes with a bracing look at issues of responsibility, reparation, and forgiveness across the victim/perpetrator divide.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Stuart Taberner

Passionate, committed, and hard-hitting on every page, Haunting Legacies draws on an exceptional range of theoretical models and literary texts to reveal the traumatic traces of violence written into the cultural fabric of the present day. Rigorous in its analysis but never indifferent to the real suffering permeating the objects of its investigation, Haunting Legacies marries righteous indignation with a poetic reflection on Gabriele Schwab's own history growing up in West Germany in the immediate aftermath of her country's genocidal madness.

Amir Eshel

Haunting Legacies offers a brilliant, fresh, and stimulating approach to the study of trauma. Drawing on personal experiences as well as a wide array historical and theoretical sources, Gabriele Schwab addresses genocide, slavery, and colonial violence as they haunt individuals and cultures long after the horrific event. Her work considerably expands on the most recent advances in psychoanalytic and postcolonial theory and is sure to be discussed across disciplines for many years to come.

European Legacy - Reina Van Der Wiel

While arguably controversial in academic practice, the inclusion of personal material here serves not only as illumination of the psychoanalytic and trauma theories the book engages with but, perhaps more importantly, as enactment of facing up to and working through a haunting legacy.

Years Work in Critical and Cultural Studies (Trauma and Testimony) - Nicholas Chare

Haunting Legacies is a thought-provoking study of the transmission of trauma that will become a classic in the field.

Years Work in Critical and Cultural Studies (Psychoanalysis) - Graeme Pedlingham

Both an innovative intervention and a powerful work of scholarship

Bryn Mawr Review of Comparative Literature

Schwab's work is a model of comparative investigation... Haunting Legacies is a deeply personal book. But it's richer for it...

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231152563
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 10/19/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Gabriele Schwab is Chancellor's Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine. Her books in English include Derrida, Deleuze, Psychoanalysis; Accelerating Possessions: Global Futures of Property and Personhood; and The Mirror and the Killer-Queen: Otherness in Literary Language.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xiii

1 Introduction 1

2 Writing Against Memory and Forgetting 41

3 Haunting Legacies: Trauma in Children of Perpetrators 67

4 Identity Trouble: Guilt, Shame, and Idealization 92

5 Replacement Children: The Transgenerational Transmission of Traumatic Loss 118

6 Deadly Intimacy: The Politics and Psychic Life of Torture 151

Notes 183

Bibliography 203

Index 211

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