9781501315800

Gestures of Testimony Torture, Trauma, and Affect in Literature

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781501315800

  • ISBN10:

    1501315803

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2016-07-14
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

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Summary

After 9/11, the United States became a nation that sanctioned torture. Detainees across the globe were waterboarded, deprived of sleep, beaten by guards, blasted with deafening music and forced into obscene acts. Their torture presents a profound problem for literature: torturous pain and its traumatic aftermath have long been held to destroy language, shatter experience, and refuse representation. Challenging accepted thinking, Gestures of Testimony asks how literature might bear witness to the tortures of a war waged against fear itself.

Bringing the vibrant field of affect theory to bear on theories of torture and power, Richardson adopts an interdisciplinary approach to show how testimony founded in affect can bear witness to torture and its traumas. Grounded in provocative readings of poems by Guantanamo detainees, memoirs of interrogators and detainees, contemporary films, the Bush Administration's Torture Memos, and fiction by George Orwell, Franz Kafka, Arthur Koestler, Anne Michaels, and Janette Turner Hospital, Michael Richardson traces the workings of affect, biopower, and aesthetics to re-think literary testimony. Gestures of Testimony gives shape to a mode of affective witnessing, a reaching beyond the page in the writing of torture that reveals violent trauma - even as it embodies its veiling.

Author Biography

Michael Richardson is Tutor in the School of Arts & Media at the University of New South Wales, Australia.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Torture, Affect and Power in the War on Terror
2. Tortured Bodies
3. Reading Torture
4. Seeing Torture
5. Writing Trauma
6. Witnessing the Poetics of Trauma
7. Torturous Affect
8. Conclusion: Gestures of Testimony
References
Index

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