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Shell shock and the Modernist imagination: the death drive in post-World War I British fiction

Shell shock and the Modernist imagination: the death drive in post-World War I British fiction

Bonikowski, Wyatt., author

Bonikowski examines how the figure of the shell-shocked soldier and the symptoms of war trauma were transformed in novels by Ford Madox Ford, Rebecca West and Virginia Woolf. Situating his study with respect to Freud's concept of the death drive. Looking closely at both case histories of shell shock and Modernist novels by Ford Madox Ford, Rebecca West, and Virginia Woolf, Wyatt Bonikowski shows how the figure of the shell-shocked soldier and the symptoms of war trauma were transformed by the literary imagination. Situating his study with respect to Freud's concept of the death drive, Bonikowski reads the repetitive symptoms of shell-shocked soldiers as a resistance to representation and narrative. In making this resistance part of their narratives, Ford, West, and Woolf broaden our understanding of the traumatic effects of war, exploring the possibility of a connection between the trauma of war and the trauma of sexuality. Parade's End, The Return of the Soldier, and Mrs. Dalloway are all structured around the relationship between the soldier who returns from war and the women who receive him, but these novels offer no prospect for the healing effects of the union between men and women. Instead, the novels underscore the divisions within the home and the self, drawing on the traumatic effects of shell shock to explore the link between the public events of history and the intimate traumas of the relations between self and other

eBook, Electronic resource, Book. English. Electronic books.
Published Farnham: Ashgate, [2013]
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Details

Statement of responsibility: Wyatt Bonikowski
ISBN: 1317055578, 9781317055570
Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Physical Description: viii, 192 pages
Subject: Literature: history & criticism; Psychic trauma in literature.; West, Rebecca, 1892-1983. Return of the soldier.; Modernism (Literature) Great Britain.; Social & cultural history; Literary studies: c 1900 to c 2000; Ford, Ford Madox, 1873-1939. Parade's end.; Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941. Mrs Dalloway.; Literature.; History; World War, 1914-1918 Literature and the war.; Comparative Literature
Reproduction: Electronic reproduction. Askews and Holts. Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Other formats: Also available in printed form ISBN 9781409444176

Contents

  1. Introduction: shell shock and the traces of war
  2. The invisible wound: shell shock and psychoanalysis
  3. Transports of a wartime impressionism: Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End
  4. The ’passion of exile’: Rebecca West’s The Return of the Soldier
  5. ’Death was an attempt to communicate’: Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway
  6. Conclusions: the ethics and aesthetics of the death drive
  7. Bibliography
  8. Index.