Trauma Theory as a Method for Understanding Literary Texts: The Psychological Basis of Postmodern Hermeneutics

Price:$199.95 + shipping
(Click the PayPal button to buy)
This study examines the cultural factors that have caused writers to create narratives bearing the marks of postmodernism sometimes centuries before the postmodern era demarcation of WWII that demonstrate the characteristics which have becomes associated with postmodernism – namely, intertextuality, repetition, fragmentation, and language experimentation.


“This book sheds new light on a problem that has bedeviled scholars of contemporary literature for many years…If postmodern literature is a manifestation of the cultural anxieties of the second half of the twentieth century, then why do so many earlier texts, some of them hundreds of years earlier, look so darn postmodern? Put another way what common cause, existing across centuries, inspired authors to write in similar intertextual, canivalesque, self-referential and boundary-blurring ways?”
-Professor Robert L. McLaughlin,
Illinois State University

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Correlation Between Trauma and Literature

Trauma and Psychoanalysis
The Power of Language
Group Psychology
The Development of Civilization
Transmission of Mood Jacques Lacan and “imago”
PTSD and Collective Trauma
Narrative memory and Traumatic Memory
The Unreliability of Traumatic Memory
Chapter 2: The Postmodern Voice
Literary “Postmodern Text”
Characteristics of the Traumatized Voice
Intertextuality and Postmodern Language
Repetition and its Many Forms
The Dispersed or Fragmented Voice
The Search for Powerful Language
Language and Trauma
Trauma and Postmodernism
Chapter 3: Twentieth-Century Trauma Culture
Birth of the Atomic Age
The measured Self and the Apocalyptic Self
Post-Hiroshima America
Trauma Culture’s Otherworldliness
Daily Reminders of Armageddon
The U.S. as a Posttraumatic Culture
The History of World-Destroying Technologies
Chapter 4: Anglo-Saxon Trauma Culture
Anglo-Saxon Culture
Literacy in the Anglo-Saxon Period
Textual Communities and Anglo-Saxon Literature
The Mootness of the dating Controversy
Violence in Anglo-Saxon England
Monastic Life in Anglo-Saxon England Further Documentary Evidence
Living Conditions in Anglo-Saxon England
Anglo-Saxon medicine and Medical Procedures
Anglo-Saxon posttraumatic Stress
PTSD’s Effects on Anglo-Saxon Culture
Chapter 5: Beowulf as “Postmodern” Trauma Text
Postmodern characteristics of Beowulf
The Beowulf Poet’s intertextuality
Repetition in Beowulf
Narrative Structure and Repetition
The Poet’s Fragmented Narration
The Magical Language of Beowulf
The psychic Origins of Creativity
Chapter 6: Twentieth-Century Postmodern Literature
Trauma Theory and Postmodern Style
Development of Apocalyptic Temper
The Fiction of William H. Gass
“In the Heart” of Postmodernism
Gass’s “The Pedersen Kid”
Further Gass Fictions
Omensetter’s Luck and the Atomic Age
Cultural Trauma and The Tunnel
The Founding Father of American Postmodernism
Literary Chaos Theory
White Males and Postmodernism
Chapter 7: Pedagogical Implications and Conclusions
Other Trauma Texts
Classroom Practices
A Critical-Rhetoric Model
Implications for Writing Classrooms
The Case for Trauma Writing
Counterproductivity and Trauma Writing
Teaching Practices for Trauma Writing
Creative Nonfiction vs. the Personal Essay
Pedagogical Implications and the Call for Further Research

Other Literary Criticism Books

More Books by this Author