Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Trauma, Time, Fiction

ENGL 016.302
TR 9-10:30

Bombs rising into planes; smoke returning to smokestacks; a wound that gives
pain in advance of its infliction. Why do so many novels about historical
mass-trauma involve time-travel or reversals in chronology and causality? Can
such works constitute a flight from mass-violence? Can they, contrastingly,
participate in collective mourning over trauma? And how do we understand the
political, ethical, and psychological work of counterfactual fiction, which
explores an alternate history unfolding from some past crux (e.g., a history in
which F.D.R. was assassinated before World War II)? Readings to include fiction
by Martin Amis, Octavia Butler, Philip K. Dick, and D.M. Thomas and essays by
contemporary trauma theorists and their critics.

fulfills requirements