Wounds and Words: Childhood and Family Trauma in Romantic and Postmodern Fiction

Wounds and Words: Childhood and Family Trauma in Romantic and Postmodern Fiction

by Christa Schönfelder


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Trauma has become a hotly contested topic in literary studies. But interest in trauma is not new; its roots extend to the Romantic period, when novelists and the first psychiatrists influenced each others' investigations of the "wounded mind." This book looks back to these early attempts to understand trauma, reading a selection of Romantic novels in dialogue with Romantic and contemporary psychiatry. It then carries that dialogue forward to postmodern fiction, examining further how empirical approaches can deepen our theorizations of trauma. Within an interdisciplinary framework, this study reveals fresh insights into the poetics, politics, and ethics of trauma fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783837623789
Publisher: Transcript-Verlag
Publication date: 01/21/2014
Series: Lettre
Pages: 346
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Christa Schönfelder teaches English literature at the University of Zurich. Her research interests include Romanticism, postmodern fiction, trauma theory, and gender studies.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 7

Introduction: Towards a Reconceptualization of Trauma 9

Chapter 1 Theorizing Trauma: Romantic and Postmodern Perspectives on Mental Wounds 27

Chapter 2 The "Wounded Mind": Feminism, Trauma, and Self-Narration in Mary Wollstonecraft's The Wrongs of Woman 87

Chapter 3 Anatomizing the "Demons of Hatred": Traumatic Loss and Mental Illness in William Godwin's Mandeville 127

Chapter 4 A Tragedy of Incest: Trauma, Identity, and Performativity in Mary Shelley's Mathilda 163

Chapter 5 Polluted Daughters: Incestuous Abuse and the Postmodern Tragic in Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres 203

Chapter 6 Inheriting Trauma: Family Bonds and Memory Ties in Anne Michaels's Fugitive Pieces 241

Chapter 7 The Body of Evidence: Family History, Guilt, and Recovery in Trezza Azzopardi's The Hiding Place 279

Conclusion 315

Works Cited 323

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