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«Of What is Past, or Passing, or to Come»

Travelling in Time and Space in Literature in English

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Edited By Liliana Sikorska

This volume, entitled Of what is past, or passing, or to come: Travelling in Time and Space in Literature in English was inspired by the work of the writer, culture historian and mythographer Marina Warner and the professor of comparative literature Cathy Caruth. The lines quoted above are from W.B. Yeats’ Sailing to Byzantium, which are recalled by one of the characters in Marina Warner’s novel In a Dark Wood (1977). The articles included in this volume are devoted to the explorations of individual space and landscape of the mind through analyzing trauma and addressing psychological wounds, and to travels into fairy tales, oriental scenery real and imaginary as well as interrelationships between memory and fiction in non-fictional and fictional discourses.
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The voyage inside oneself: Cathy Caruth’s investigation of trauma: Liliana Sikorska, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan / University of Social Sciences, Warsaw

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Liliana Sikorska, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań / University of Social Sciences, Warsaw

The invitation for Cathy Caruth to come to the 8th Literature in English Symposium was not accidental. For anyone conducting research on Irish literature is bound to come across the issues of trauma and memory in both an individual and national context. What is more, her name is frequently linked to the notion of witnessed history and memory.1 The three terms: Trauma, Time and History, which are notable areas of interest of Cathy Caruth, are also catchphrases for people functioning both in the field of literature, as well as for psychoanalysts working with patients. The space of psychoanalysts’ room is one of the few places in contemporary culture in which textual records are treated on a par with orally transmitted stories.

But my personal adventure with Caruth’s work has a much longer history. Before I embarked on the project of preparing an anthology of Irish literature, I had a brief literary affair with Jacques Lacan, Elizabeth Gross and Lori Ami. The first two names would easily fall into the category of “scholarly”, and therefore “platonic” infatuation, the third was a friend and fellow student in the University of Florida PhD program. In an informal study group, we struggled with texts on psychoanalysis and theory. It was Lori Amy’s visit to Poznań in 2009 which marked the new beginning of our (my own as well as my PhD students’) research on trauma, as she was...

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