Haunting Legacies: Violent Histories and Transgenerational Trauma

Haunting Legacies: Violent Histories and Transgenerational Trauma

by Gabriele Schwab
     
 

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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 through later generations, for 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

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 through later generations, for 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 (Ruth Kluger's Still Alive and Marguerite Duras's La Douleur), second-generation accounts by the children of Holocaust survivors (Georges Perec's W, Art Spiegelman's Maus, and Philippe Grimbert's Secret), and second-generation recollections by Germans (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 networks of interlaced memories and histories as they interact in psychic life and cultural memory. Her critical approach draws on theories from psychoanalysis, postcolonialism, and trauma studies, and Schwab concludes with a bracing look at issues of responsibility, reparation, and forgiveness across the victim/perpetrator divide.

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...

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231526357
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
11/05/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
File size:
298 KB

What People are saying about this

Michael Levine
In this highly original and courageous study, Gabriele Schwab breaks new ground in the study of trauma and its intergenerational transmission, doing so through a special focus on the long-term effects of violent histories on the generations of both victims and perpetrators.

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.

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