Literary Trauma: Sadism, Memory, and Sexual Violence in American Women's Fiction

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SUNY Press, Nov 2, 2000 - Family & Relationships - 169 pages
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This book examines portrayals of political and psychological trauma, particularly sexual trauma, in the work of seven American women writers. Concentrating on novels by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Pauline Hopkins, Gayl Jones, Leslie Marmon Silko, Dorothy Allison, Joyce Carol Oates, and Margaret Atwood, Horvitz investigates whether memories of violent and oppressive trauma can be preserved, even transformed into art, without reproducing that violence. The book encompasses a wide range of personal and political traumas, including domestic abuse, incest, rape, imprisonment, and slavery, and argues that an analysis of sadomasochistic violence is our best protection against cyclical, intergenerational violence, a particularly timely and important subject as we think about how to stop hate crimes and other forms of political and psychic oppression."
 

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Contents

Reading the Unconscious in Leslie Marmon Silkos Almanac of the Dead
25
Freud and Feminism in Gayl Joness Corregidora and Dorothy Allisons Bastard out of Carolina
39
Hysteria and Trauma in Pauline Hopkinss Of One Blood Or the Hidden Self
57
Postmodern Realism Truth and Lies in Joyce Carol Oatess What I Lived For
75
Intertextuality and Poststructural Realism in Margaret Atwoods Alias Grace and Charlotte Perkins Gilmans The Yellow Wallpaper
99
Conclusion Words Finally Spoken
131
Notes
135
Works Cited
153
Index
165
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Page 12 - at the bottom of every case of hysteria there are one or more occurrences of premature sexual experience, occurrences which belong to the earliest years of childhood
Page 7 - A Black feminist approach to literature that embodies the realization that the politics of sex as well as the politics of race and class are crucially interlocking factors in the works of Black women writers is an absolute necessity
Page 3 - To hold traumatic reality in consciousness requires a social context that affirms and protects the victim and that joins victim and witness in a common alliance. For the individual victim, this social context is created by relationships with friends, lovers, and family. For the larger society, the social context is created by political movements that give voice to the disempowered. (9) In

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About the author (2000)

Deborah Horvitz teaches at Salem State College and at the School at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.