Literary Aesthetics of Trauma
Virginia Woolf and Jeanette Winterson
|Publication Date||April 2014|
|Formats||Ebook (PDF) Ebook (EPUB) Hardcover|
Literary Aesthetics of Trauma: Virginia Woolf and Jeanette Winterson investigates a fundamental shift, from the 1920s to the present day, in the way that trauma is culturally perceived and aesthetically expressed. Modernism's emphasis on impersonality and narrative abstraction has been replaced by the contemporary trauma memoir and an ethical imperative to bear witness. This book diverges from the deconstructive trend in academic trauma studies that prioritizes a model of narrative rupture, whereby literary form replicates traumatic symptoms. Instead, it presents an object relations theory model, which emphasizes the importance of narrative 'containment' and 'working-through' of traumatic emotion by achieving at least some critical distance. From this perspective, it analyses modernism's formalist aesthetics, particularly as displayed in two of Woolf's most formally abstract novels. It contrasts this approach with Winterson's 'new baroque' aesthetics and the increasingly 'authentic' reappearance of the traumatic adoption story in her work.