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.
Haunting Legacies: Violent Histories and Transgenerational Traumaby Gabriele Schwab
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… See more details below
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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 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
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.
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.
Haunting Legacies is a thought-provoking study of the transmission of trauma that will become a classic in the field.
Both an innovative intervention and a powerful work of scholarship
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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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.
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