Trauma, Transcendence, and Trust takes up the idea of trauma as one of the lenses through which the twenty-first century interprets experience. This study excavates the roots of this concept in three poets of mourning whose work bridges the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Here, Wordsworth's haunted wanderings, Tennyson's trance, and Eliot's negative epiphanies all receive fresh attention. Can a new ethic of trust address the repetition of trauma? In the process, can it replace our fantasies of transcendence? These poets repeatedly pose such questions in the hope that someone will listen and Thomas J. Brennan, S.J. mines the rich material for new and stimulating conclusions.
About the Author
Thomas J. Brennan, S.J. is Assistant Professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Traumatized Trust 1
1 Gazes of Trauma, Spots of Trust: Wordsworth's Memorials in The Prelude 33
2 "Wound" in the "Living Soul": Tennyson's In Memoriam 73
3 Castrated Referentiality: Eliot's The Waste Land 119
Epilogue: "The Tone We Trusted Most": Merrill's The Book of Ephraim 163