National Trauma in Postdictatorship Latin American Literature: Chile and Argentina examines the traumatic experiences of Chile and Argentina under authoritarian regimes and argues that in order for postdictatorship countries to successfully implement transitions to democracy, they must confront the past. This book employs the research of psychologists Bessel van der Kolk, Judith Herman, Donald Dutton, Elizabeth Loftus, and Cathy Caruth, in order to better understand the emotional and psychological effects of national trauma in the works of Chileans Diamela Eltit and Ariel Dorfman, and Argentines Ricardo Piglia and Griselda Gambaro. The themes and characters transcend national boundaries – the abuse, torture, paranoia, anguish, and shame are common to all human beings oppressed by tyranny. The inclusion of theater is necessary in global times for the art of drama has the power to ignite a repressed consciousness to emerge and contribute to progress and change.
National Trauma in Postdictatorship Latin American Literature: Chile and Argentina proceeds with the reality that it is possible to heal from past trauma and become – once again – dignified citizens of the world.