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Beyond trauma: torturous times

Luckhurst, Roger (2010) Beyond trauma: torturous times. European Journal of English Studies 14 (1), pp. 11-21. ISSN 1382-5577.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13825571003588247

Abstract

This essay investigates whether the 'trauma paradigm' that has emerged in cultural theory is adequate to examine one of the most urgent political questions of our time: the question of state-sanctioned torture in the wake of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. The first part explores whether the delight in aporia and paradox of much trauma theory is at odds with more urgent political imperatives to represent and circulate images of atrocity in torturous times. The second part investigates a number of cultural representations of trauma that have emerged outside the modernist trauma aesthetic, in particular looking at how Gothic tropes have been used in television and cinema to offer representational modes to debate torture. The study concludes with a reading of the film Pan's Labyrinth as an instance of how fantasy, Gothic and overdetermined historical traces have converged to navigate experience in an era of torture.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): trauma theory, torture, Gothic, film studies, Guillermo del Toro, Pan's Labyrinth
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Arts > English and Humanities
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2010 09:56
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:19
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/2654

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