Victimhood and Vulnerability in 21st Century Fiction  book cover
1st Edition

Victimhood and Vulnerability in 21st Century Fiction

ISBN 9781032097022
Published June 30, 2021 by Routledge
256 Pages

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Book Description

Editors Jean-Michel Ganteau and Susana Onega) have assembled a volume which addresses the relationship between trauma and ethics, and moves one step further to engage with vulnerability studies in their relation to literature and literary form. It consists of an introduction and of twelve articles written by specialists from various European countries and includes an interview with US novelist Jayne Anne Philips, conducted by her translator into French, Marc Amfreville, addressing her latest novel, Quiet Dell, through the victimhood-vulnerability prism. The corpus of primary sources on which the volume is based draws on various literary backgrounds in English, from Britain to India, through the USA. The editors draw on material from the ethics of alterity, trauma studies and the ethics of vulnerability in line with the work of moral philosophers like Emmanuel Levinas, as well as with a more recent and challenging tradition of continental thinkers, virtually unknown so far in the English-speaking world, represented by Guillaume Le Blanc, Nathalie Maillard, and Corinne Pelluchon, among others. Yet another related line of thought followed in the volume is that represented by feminist critics like Catriona McKenzie, Wendy Rogers and Susan Dodds.

Table of Contents



Notes on Contributors


Susana Onega and Jean-Michel Ganteau

PART I: Loss of Affect and Victimization

1 And Yet: Figuring Global Trauma in Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being

Cathérine Bernard

2 "The Willful Child": Resignifying Vulnerability through Affective Attachments in Emma Donoghue’s Room

Maite Escudero

3 The Construction of Vulnerability and Monstrosity in Slipstream:Tom McCarthy’s Remainder

Merve Sarikaya-Sen

PART II: Gender, Class, Race and the Ethics and Aesthetics of Vulnerability

4 Erasing Female Victimhood: The Debate over Trauma and Truth

Ángeles de la Concha

5 Vulnerable Ethics and Politics: Peter Ackroyd’s Rhetoric of Excess and Indirection in The Lambs of London

Susana Onega

6 Reviving Ghosts: The Reversibility of Victims and Vindicators in Sarah Waters’s The Little Stranger

Eileen Williams-Wanquet

7 A Dialectic of Trauma and Shame: The Politics of Dispossession in Gail Jones’s Black Mirror

María Pilar Royo-Grasa

PART III: The Politics of Visibility

8 The Humanism behind Jonathan Coe’s Narrative "patchwork[s] of … coincidences": Acting and Writing around Vulnerability

Laurent Mellet

9 The (In)visibility of Systemic Victimization: A Reading of Rupa Bajwa’s The Sari Shop

Angela Locatelli

10 Shifting Visibilities: The Politics of Trauma and Vulnerability in Neil Bartlett’s Skin Lane

Jean-Michel Ganteau

PART IV: History and the Archive

11 Hidden in Plain Sight: The Vulnerable Shapes of Lisa Appignanesi’s Holocaust Narratives

Maria Grazia Nicolosi

12 The Archive of a Missed Future: Vulnerability and the Poetics of Helplessness in Jayne Anne Philips’s Quiet Dell

Marc Amfreville

13 Sympathetic Haunting: An Interview with Jayne Anne Philips

Conducted by Marc Amfreville


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Jean-Michel Ganteau is Professor of Contemporary British Literature at the University Paul Valéry Montpellier 3 (France)

Susana Onega is Professor of English Literature at the University of Zaragoza, (Spain)