Sunday, April 06, 2008

Weilnbock, Harald. "'The Trauma Must Remain Inaccessible to Memory': Trauma Melancholia and Other (Ab-)Uses of Trauma Concepts in Literary Theory."

Eurozine March 19, 2008. The concept of psycho-trauma has gained widespread currency in literary theory in recent years. Yet what might be sign of hope for a more interdisciplinary approach to psycho-trauma on closer inspection turns out to be ambiguous, according Harald Weilnböck. Literary theory, he writes, often distorts what psycho-trauma means in clinical terms and, while gaining interdisciplinary cachet, repeats patterns of self-protection and transference. In the first instalment of this long and thought-provoking essay, the fictional Dr Goodheart puzzles over Manfred Weinberg's assertion that "trauma must remain inaccessible to memory". Such statements contradict Dr Goodheart's clinical experience that enabling patients to access their memory is essential to successful therapy. Reading Elisabeth Bronfen's essay on Hitchcock's Marnie, Dr Goodheart's consternation grows. Bronfen, he suspects, romanticises psycho-trauma in order to provoke the given gender order and, in linking trauma with pleasure, implicitly licences the acting out of destructive patterns of interaction. Read the rest here:

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