Trauma, Testimony, and Community
University of Illinois Press, 9780252070549, 296pp.
Publication Date: May 13, 2002
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How do we come to terms with what can't be forgotten? How do we bear witness to extreme experiences that challenge the limits of language? This remarkable volume explores the emotional, political, and aesthetic dimensions of testimonies to trauma as they translate private anguish into public space. Nancy K. Miller and Jason Tougaw have assembled a collection of essays that trace the legacy of the Holocaust and subsequent events that have shaped twentieth-century history and still haunt contemporary culture. Extremities combines personal and scholarly approaches to a wide range of texts that bear witness to shocking and moving accounts of individual trauma: Toni Morrison's Beloved, Sylvia Plath's Daddy and Lady Lazarus, Kathryn Harrison's The Kiss, Tatana Kellner's Holocaust art, Ruth Klger's powerful memoir Still Alive, and Binjamin Wilkomirski's controversial narrative of concentration camp suffering Fragments. The book grapples with the cultural and social effects of historical crises, including the Montreal Massacre, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and the medical catastrophes of HIV/AIDS and breast cancer. gender studies, the authors demonstrate that testimonies of troubling and taboo subjects do more than just add to the culture of confession--they transform identities and help reimagine the boundaries of community. Extremities offers an original and timely interpretive guide to the growing field of trauma studies. The volume includes essays by Ross Chambers, Sandra M. Gilbert, Susan Gubar, Marianne Hirsch, Wayne Koestenbaum, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and others.