Haunted Narratives: Life Writing in an Age of Trauma

Edited by Gabriele Rippl, Philipp Schweighauser, Tiina Kirss, Margit Sutrop, and Therese Steffen

© 2013

Exploring life writing from a variety of cultural contexts, Haunted Narratives provides new insights into how individuals and communities across time and space deal with traumatic experiences and haunting memories. From the perspectives of trauma theory, memory studies, gender studies, literary studies, philosophy, and post-colonial studies, the volume stresses the lingering, haunting presence of the past in the present. The contributors focus on the psychological, ethical, and representational difficulties involved in narrative negotiations of traumatic memories.

Haunted Narratives focuses on life writing in the broadest sense of the term: biographies and autobiographies that deal with traumatic experiences, autobiographically inspired fictions on loss and trauma, and limit-cases that transcend clear-cut distinctions between the factual and the fictional. In discussing texts as diverse as Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Vikram Seth’s Two Lives, deportation narratives of Baltic women, Christa Wolf’s Kindheitsmuster, Joy Kogawa’s Obasan, and Ene Mihkelson’s Ahasveeruse uni, the contributors add significantly to current debates on life writing, trauma, and memory; the contested notion of “cultural trauma”; and the transferability of clinical-psychological notions to the study of literature and culture.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 360 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.1in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP003541

  • PUBLISHED MAR 2013

    From: $54.75

    Regular Price: $73.00

    ISBN 9781442646018
  • PUBLISHED MAR 2013

    From: $54.75

    Regular Price: $73.00

Quick Overview

Exploring life writing from a variety of cultural contexts, Haunted Narratives provides new insights into how individuals and communities across time and space deal with traumatic experiences and haunting memories.

Haunted Narratives: Life Writing in an Age of Trauma

Edited by Gabriele Rippl, Philipp Schweighauser, Tiina Kirss, Margit Sutrop, and Therese Steffen

© 2013

Exploring life writing from a variety of cultural contexts, Haunted Narratives provides new insights into how individuals and communities across time and space deal with traumatic experiences and haunting memories. From the perspectives of trauma theory, memory studies, gender studies, literary studies, philosophy, and post-colonial studies, the volume stresses the lingering, haunting presence of the past in the present. The contributors focus on the psychological, ethical, and representational difficulties involved in narrative negotiations of traumatic memories.

Haunted Narratives focuses on life writing in the broadest sense of the term: biographies and autobiographies that deal with traumatic experiences, autobiographically inspired fictions on loss and trauma, and limit-cases that transcend clear-cut distinctions between the factual and the fictional. In discussing texts as diverse as Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Vikram Seth’s Two Lives, deportation narratives of Baltic women, Christa Wolf’s Kindheitsmuster, Joy Kogawa’s Obasan, and Ene Mihkelson’s Ahasveeruse uni, the contributors add significantly to current debates on life writing, trauma, and memory; the contested notion of “cultural trauma”; and the transferability of clinical-psychological notions to the study of literature and culture.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 360 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.1in x 9.3in
  • Author Information

    Gabriele Rippl is chair of Literatures in English at the University of Berne.


    Philipp Schweighauser is head of American and General Literatures at the University of Basel.


    Tiina Kirss is a professor in the Estonian Institute of Humanities at Tallinn University.


    Margit Sutrop is head of the Department of Philosophy and the Centre for Ethics at the University of Tartu.


    Therese Steffen is a professor in the Department of English at the University of Basel.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction: Life Writing in an Age of Trauma

    Gabriele Rippl (University of Bern)/Philipp Schweighauser  (University of Basel)/Therese Steffen (University of Basel)

    I. Life Writing and Trauma: Theorizing the Vicissitudes of Representing Violence

    1. Seeing Ghosts: Theorizing Haunting in Literary Texts - Tiina Kirss (University of Tartu)

    2. Trauma and Utopia: Benjamin, Adorno, and Elie Wiesel's Night - Philipp Schweighauser (University of Basel)

    II. Auto/biographies as Trauma Narratives

    3. Richard Wollheim's Germs: Life Writing as Therapy, Despite Theory - Julia Straub (University of Bern)

    4. Writing Childhood, Writing Lack - Maarja Hollo (Estonian Literary Museum)

    5. Loquacious Silences: Vikram Seth's Two Lives and the German Language - Nora Anna Escherle (University of Bern)

    6. Unsayable or Merely Unsaid? - Eneken Laanes (Estonian Academy of Sciences)

    7. Voicing Trauma in the Deportation Narratives of Baltic Women - Leena Kurvet-Käosaar (Tallinn University)

    8. Trauma Narratives and National Identity - Annie Cottier (University of Bern)

    III. Limit-cases: Exploring the Limits of Telling Pain

    9. "Metaphors for the Scots Today": History and National Identity in Scottish Drama after 1945 - Stefanie Preuss (University of Konstanz)

    10. Aspects of Post-Imperial Constructions of Nationhood - Eva Rein (University of Tartu)

    11. Anecdotalization of Memory in Jaan Kross' Paigallend - Eneken Laanes (Estonian Academy of Sciences)

    12. Meddling with Memory--Negating Grand Narratives - Nora Anna Escherle (University of Bern)

    13. Fighting Fear with Writing: Christa Wolf`s Kindheitsmuster and Ene Mihkelson's Ahasveeruse uni (The Sleep of Ahasuerus) - Aija Sakova (Tartu University)

    14. The Stigma of the Autobiographical - Julia Straub (University of Bern)

    15. The Search for the Lost Parent in Joy Kogawa's Obasan and Ene Mihkelson's Ahasveeruse uni (The Sleep of Ahasuerus) - Eva Rein (University of Tartu)

    16. Making the Silence Speak: A Critical Discussion of Trauma Transmission and Identity Formation - Stefanie Preuss (University of Konstanz)

    IV. Fictions of Loss and Trauma

    17. (Re-)Visions of the Buried Self: Childhood Trauma and Self-Narration in Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye - Christa Schönfelder (University of Zurich)

    18. Grasping Patterns of Violence - Aija Sakova (Tartu University)

    19. Nostalgia and Redemption in Bernard Kangro's Joonatan-Novels - Maarja Hollo (Estonian Literary Museum)

    20. Renegotiations of Longing and Belonging: Exile, Memory and Nostalgia - Christa Schönfelder (University of Zurich)

    21. Haunted Whispers from the Footnotes: Life Writing in Raj Kamal Jha's Fireproof - Annie Cottier (University of Bern)

    22. What Only Fiction Can Do - Leena Kurvet-Käosaar (Tallinn University)

    Afterword: Ethical and Political Aspects of Life Writing and Remembering - Margit Sutrop (University of Tartu)

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