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The Trauma Novel

Contemporary Symbolic Depictions of Collective Disaster

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Ronald Granofsky

This study attempts to make sense of a group of novels that deal in a symbolic way with contemporary forms of collective disaster (the prospect of nuclear war, the Holocaust, environmental destruction). It shows similarities among British, American, Canadian and other novels never before grouped together and argues that they constitute a distinct sub-genre of fiction: the trauma novel. In so doing, the book sets forth an original theory about how literary symbolism functions as part of a cultural response to collective trauma.

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INTRODUCTION ............................................................... 1 CHAPTER ONE Dealing with "It": The Categorical Challenge of the Trauma Novel (Carter, Lessing, Hoban, Vonnegut, Amis) .............................. 21 CHAPTER TWO Elemental Dissolution: Trauma and Transformation (Kosinski, Golding, Findley, Hoban) ...................................... 65 CHAPTER THREE The Stages of Trauma Response: Regression, Fragmentation, and Reunification (Atwood, Tournier, Thomas) .............................................. 107 CHAPTER FOUR Generic Considerations: Postmodernism and the Trauma Novel (Coetzee, Pynchon) .......................................................... 151 NOTES ......................................................................... 177 WORKS CITED .............................................................. 179 INDEX .......................................................................... 191 This page intentionally left blank

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