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Trauma and the Early Modern (1)

Event Date: Tuesday 24 November 2010 5.00 pm
Royal Holloway, IN 032

 

 

Trauma and the Early Modern (1)

TRAUMA, FICTION, HISTORY seminar series

School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures


Speakers:

Professor John O’Brien, (Royal Holloway), Beginnings and Trauma

Dr Timothy Chesters, (Royal Holloway), Divine Trauma

On the face of things, there seems something ineradicably modern about trauma as a concept. Born, as ‘traumatic neurosis’, alongside modern psychoanalysis at the end of the nineteenth century, and revitalised within deconstruction at the close of the twentieth, trauma theory has also been shaped by a series of – it is sometimes supposed – uniquely modern catastrophes: World War I, the Holocaust, Hiroshima, Vietnam. So what if anything can trauma theory reveal of other historical periods? Is to speak of trauma in the early modern period, for example, merely to indulge in futile anachronism? Or can trauma theory still teach us something about early modern violence and the mental scars it left behind? More provocatively, perhaps, can early modern texts tell us anything of trauma theory itself: its assumptions, its blind spots, its own unspoken past? In the first of a two-part mini-series on ‘Trauma and the Early Modern’, Timothy Chesters and John O’Brien test the applicability of trauma theory in a number of texts arising out of the French Wars of Religion (1562-1598).

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Introduction by Colin Davis .

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John O’Brien Beginnings and Trauma:

Play

handout: Beginnings and Trauma (download)
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Timothy Chesters Divine Trauma :

Play

handout: Divine Trauma (download)

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questions:

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