The Trauma Question
Routledge – 2008 – 246 pages
In this book, Roger Luckhurst both introduces and advances the fields of cultural memory and trauma studies, tracing the ways in which ideas of trauma have become a major element in contemporary Western conceptions of the self.
The Trauma Question outlines the origins of the concept of trauma across psychiatric, legal and cultural-political sources from the 1860s to the coining of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in 1980. It further explores the nature and extent of ‘trauma culture’ from 1980 to the present, drawing upon a range of cultural practices from literature, memoirs and confessional journalism through to photography and film. The study covers a diverse range of cultural works, including writers such as Toni Morrison, Stephen King and W. G. Sebald, artists Tracey Emin, Christian Boltanski and Tracey Moffatt, and film-makers David Lynch and Atom Egoyan.
The Trauma Question offers a significant and fascinating step forward for those seeking a greater understanding of the controversial and ever-expanding field of trauma research.
Introduction Part One: Etymology 1. The Genealogy of a Concept Part Two: Cultural Symptoms Introduction: Trauma and Narrative Knowledge 2. Trauma in Narrative Fiction 3. My So-Called Life: The Memoir Boom 4. The Intrusive Image: Photography and Trauma 5. Flashbacks, Mosaics and Loops: Trauma and Narrative Cinema Afterward Bibiography
Roger Luckhurst teaches in the School of English and Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of "The Angle Between the Walls": The Fiction of J.G. Ballard (1997), The Invention of Telepathy (2002) and Science Fiction (2005).