Trauma, Gender and Ethics in the Works of E.L. Doctorow  book cover
1st Edition

Trauma, Gender and Ethics in the Works of E.L. Doctorow

ISBN 9780367236274
Published January 31, 2020 by Routledge
218 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This project approaches four of E. L. Doctorow’s novels—Welcome to Hard Times (1960), The Book of Daniel (1971), Ragtime (1975), and City of God (2000)—from the perspectives of feminist criticism and trauma theory. The study springs from the assumption that Doctorow’s literary project is eminently ethical and has an underlying social and political scope. This crops up through the novels’ overriding concern with injustice and their engagement with the representation of human suffering in a variety of forms. The book puts forward the claim that E.L. Doctorow’s literary project—through its representation of psychological trauma and its attitude towards gender—may be understood as a call to action against both each individual’s indifference and the wider social and political structures and ideologies that justify and/or facilitate the injustices and oppression to which those who are situated at the margins of contemporary US society are subjected.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Welcome to Hard Times; the Frontier Reconsidered

Shame, Guilt, Violence and Trauma

In Search for a New Gender Order

Discussion and Conclusion

Chapter 2. The Book of Daniel; a Memoir Gone Awry

The Trauma of a Grievous Past

Gender Oppression and/as Power

Discussion and Conclusion

Chapter 3. Ragtime; Remembering the Future

Trauma and Resilience

The Politics of Gender

Discussion and Conclusion

Chapter 4. City of God; with Eyes Past All Grief

Fictionalizing the Holocaust

Voicing Gender

Discussion and Conclusion

Chapter 5. Discussion; the Ethics and Politics of Literature


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María Ferrández San Miguel is a lecturer at the Department of English and German Studies (University of Zaragoza). Her work has been published in journals such as Atlantis, The Nordic Journal of English Studies and Orbis Litterarum, and in volumes such as Memory Frictions: Conflict, Negotiation, Politics (Palgrave MacMillan).