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The Unspeakable: Narratives of Trauma

Edited By Magda Stroinska, Vikki Cecchetto and Kate Szymanski

How does a trauma survivor communicate «what can’t be said out loud» to others? In what form? How can we – readers, listeners, viewers – recognize the pain and suffering hidden behind words, pictures, or other artifacts produced by trauma survivors? This volume presents a possible response by bringing together the «expressions of the unspeakable» by trauma survivors and the interpretation of researchers in various fields, i.e. clinical psychologists, linguists, anthropologists, literary and film scholars, historians, and visual artists, some of whom are survivors of trauma. By describing or analyzing different strategies for finding a narrative form for expressing the survivor’s trauma, the contributors offer not only insights into how the survivors dealt with the pain of traumatic memories but also how they were able to find hope for healing by telling their stories, in literature, graphic novels, visual art or simply by creating a personal narrative in their own voice.
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The genesis of this collection of contributions was the international conference Exploring the Edge of Trauma organized by Kingston University, London UK, at West Dean College in May 2010, the latest in a series of interdisciplinary colloquia at Kingston University ideated and organized by Professor Lieve Spaas. The editors would like to take this opportunity to thank Lieve Spaas for her indefatigable energy and vision in organizing the conference, as well as her continued inspiration, support, and encouragement in our work.

Without the painstaking attention to detail of our editorial assistant, Liz Delaney, the volume would not be as precise and error free as it is now. We would like to express our gratitude to Liz not only for her organization and attention in all stages of the preparation of the manuscript but also for her insightful contributions and revisions to the final work, as well as her professional and friendly efforts to keep in touch with all contributors.

Without the contributions of all the authors who trusted us with their work on various aspects of trauma there simply would not have been a volume: we thank you for allowing us to work with you on your chapters so that each individual contribution became an integral part of the whole.

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