Traumatic Possessions, by Griffiths, Jennifer L.
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- ISBN: 9780813928845 | 0813928842
- Cover: Paperback
- Copyright: 1/31/2010
Studies of traumatic stress have explored the challenges tomemory as a result of extreme experience, particularly in relation to the ways inwhich trauma resonates within the survivor's body and the difficulties survivorsface when trying to incorporate their experience into meaningful narratives.Jennifer Griffiths examines the attempts of several African American writers andplaywrights to explore ruptures in memory after a traumatic experience and todevelop creative strategies for understanding the inscription of trauma on the bodyin a racialized cultural context.In the literary and performancetexts examined here, Griffiths shows how the self is reconstituted throughtestimony--through the attempt to put into language and public statement thestruggle of survivors to negotiate the limits placed on their bodies and to speakcontroversial truths. Dessa in her jail cell, Venus in the courtroom, Sally on theauction block, Ursa in her own family history, and Rodney King in the videoframe--each character in these texts by Sherley Anne Williams, Suzan-Lori Parks,Robbie McCauley, Gayl Jones, and Anna Deavere Smith gives voice not only to thelimits of language in representing traumatic experience but also to the necessity oftestimony as the public enactment of memory and bodily witness.Infocusing specifically and exclusively on the relation of trauma to race and on theinfluence of racism on the creation and reception of narrative testimony, this bookdistinguishes itself from previous studies of the literatures oftrauma.American Literatures Initiative