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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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Untold stories: Reclaiming the past through (auto-biographical) narratives 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

In memory of Stefan Strzelczyk (1913-2003)

ABSTRACT

In Sorayya Khan’s first novel Noor (published in Pakistan in 2003 and in 2006 in the USA), a young girl with Down’s Syndrome, instead of learning how to read and write, begins to paint. Her crude paintings bring back memories of a forgotten war between West and East Pakistan, the war which left her mother an orphan and her adoptive grandfather permanently psychologically scarred. Viewing Noor’s pictures, the two adults, Sajida and her adoptive father Ali, reclaim the past, which hitherto had existed in dreams, utterances in a long lost language, in images and memories both of them wanted to wipe out. In my own home, my grandfather also carried the trauma of war, the Second World War. His stories furnished my childhood with two contrastive images of the Germans, a humane and caring one and the inhuman and violent one. Using the works of Cathy Caruth and Shoshana Felman on trauma and witnessing, the present paper concerns the healing possibilities of fictional and (auto)biographical narratives.

Cathy Caruth reminds us that trauma is a “‘wound’, originally referring to an injury inflicted on a body” (Caruth 1996: 3), but in Freud’s texts, as well as in more contemporary sources, trauma is always an injury wreaked on the mind. Still, it is not simply a wounded psyche, but “…always the story of a wound that...

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