The Nature of Trauma in American Novels

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-06-30
  • Publisher: Northwestern Univ Pr
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Michelle Balaev's The Nature of Trauma in American Novels is an ambi­tious reconsideration of the foundations, implementations, and pos­sibilities of literary trauma theory. Balaev examines the significance of traumatic experience in con­temporary American novels by extending the discussion of trauma be­yond the disease-driven paradigm in literary criticism today. Drawing upon psychological theories of trauma and memory, this book explores the heterogeneous and at times contradictory depictions of trauma in fiction. Balaev contends that the value of trauma and the importance of remembering in the novel are shaped by contextual factors such as culture, place, and landscape, which inform the emotional texture and narrative structure of the reader's experience. Her book addresses the reliance upon place and landscape imagery in the novels of Toni Mor­rison, Lan Cao, Leslie Marmon Silko, Edward Abbey, and Robert Bar­clay by examining how landscape imagery creates a concern for mean­ing that erupts from a discordant event to catalyze a restructuring of consciousness. The publication of The Nature of Trauma in American Novels marks an exciting new direction in literary criticism.

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