Those of us who have lived for more than a few years might well have had an experience that was wounding in some way, physically or emotionally; an experience that was embarrassing, humiliating, perhaps, even life-changing. The wound was deep enough to have left a scar. We would probably call such a hurt a ‘trauma’ and the experience ‘traumatic.’
It has been said that trauma is, ultimately, unspeakable: that a wound cannot be, and perhaps should not be, described in fiction. Is it possible to express the inexpressible even in well-chosen words? Is it desirable to open old wounds?
Critics do not open those wounds; they examine them in order to assess what we can learn from the healing process. Each of the eleven contributors to this book was given a free hand to interpret the causes and effects of trauma as a recurring motif in fiction and non-fiction. The result is – what may be surprising, but we hope stimulating – a rich diversity of approaches and findings.
Dr. Colin Swatridge