Tropics of trauma: affective representations in war narratives, 1917-2006

Filippaki, Argyro (2017) Tropics of trauma: affective representations in war narratives, 1917-2006. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
Download (2MB) | Preview
Printed Thesis Information:


Despite the vast scholarship on war writing and trauma, a focused study on the connection between individual and collective war traumatic affect and their representation in literature has not been written. This study close-reads and analyzes war writing between 1916 and 2006 in order to trace the narrative tropes that are recurrent in war narratives of that era. The exposition of these tropes is informed by Hayden White’s study Tropics of Discourse, Mikhail Bakhtin’s account of the ‘chronotope’ in The Dialogic Imagination, Julia Kristeva’s theory of abjection, and Cathy Caruth’s writings on trauma theory. The narratives examined are Stratis Myrivilis’s novel Life in the Tomb (1923), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow (1973), Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-5 (1969), Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 (1961), Joy Kogawa’s Obasan (1981), and Anna Kavan’s collection of short stories I am Lazarus (1945). The analysis of these seven narratives yields the identification of a range of tropes which underpin the representation of war traumatic affect. The identified tropes include the synecdochical relationships between body and nation, the chronotopic connection between traumatized body and warscape, the traumatized mind and the repetitive narration, as well as the proleptic anticipation of traumatic future. In turn, it will be argued, these tropes form assemblages between the individual and the collective and operate on a textual continuum sustained by the representation of past, present, and future war traumas.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: War, trauma, affect, warscape, traumatized body, repetition, anticipation, biomediation, grotesque, abjection.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Kolocotroni, Dr. Vassiliki and Coyle, Dr. John
Date of Award: 2017
Depositing User: Ms Argyro Filippaki
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-7941
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 04 May 2017 11:27
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2020 09:27

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year