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Wounded History: A Reading of Edwidge Danticat's Fiction


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Šesnić, Jelena. (2006). Wounded History: A Reading of Edwidge Danticat's Fiction. Studia Romanica et Anglica Zagrabiensia, 51. pp. 231-260. ISSN 0039-3339

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The contemporary Haitian American writer Edwidge Danticat appropriates in her fiction representational models observable also in so-called minority, post- or neo-colonial writing, which bears comparison to the dynamics of trauma as laid out in contemporary cultural theory based on the revision and rereading of Freud's texts (especially by Laplanche, Caruth, Felman). Drawing on Danticat's fictional texts, such as the novels The Farming of Bones (1998) and Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994), and a short story collection Krik? Krak! (1995), the article suggests indispensable links between the project of articulating traumatic events underlying collective, but unrecognized and so-far unrecorded, history, and the projects of bearing witness and carrying on the memory of an event. This conjunction is crucial for the articulation of collective, group history, and finds its embodiment in the hybrid form of historiographic metafiction and testimonial writing, while observing the temporal structure of traumatic belatedness and deferral, and the ultimate impossibility of transposing the traumatic into the narrative (The Farming of Bones; Krik? Krak!). The other line of argument tries to foreground the impact of structuring or base trauma as it interferes with the working-through and the transposition of a personal trauma into a coherent narrative of one's Bildung (Breath, Eyes, Memory). Still, these impasses mark a significant cultural intervention launched by Danticat and other similarly positioned authors in order to account for and bear witness to a history that articulates itself as an impossible, because traumatic, narrative.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Edwidge Danticat; history; cultural trauma; structuring trauma
Subjects: English language and literature
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2008
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2012 15:08

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