P       RNCU   REPO   ODER       E            P O S T M O D E R N
P  TMOD RNCU  U EP S  ODER  ULTU E               C U L T U R E
P  TMODERNCU  UREPOS  ODER  ULTU E          an electronic journal
P  TMODERNCU  UREPOS  ODER       E           of interdisciplinary
Volume 11, Number 2 (January, 2001)               ISSN: 1053-1920

Trauma: Essays on the Limit of Knowledge and Experience 
A Special Issue

Guest Editors:  		    Linda Belau
         			    Petar Ramadanovic

Editors:                            Lisa Brawley
                                    James F. English

Editors Emeritus:                   Eyal Amiran
                                    Stuart Moulthrop
                                    John Unsworth

Review Editor:                      Paula Geyh

Managing Editor:                    Bill Albertini 

Research Assistants:                Elizabeth Bridgham
                                    Brian Glavey
                                    Jordan Taylor

Editorial Board:                                           

     Michael Berube 		     Larysa Mykyta 
     Nahum Chandler 		     Chimalum Nwankwo
     Heesok Chang 		     Patrick O'Donnell
     J. Yellowlees Douglas 	     Elaine Orr
     Johanna Drucker 		     Bob Perelman
     Diane Gromala 		     Marjorie Perloff
     Graham Hammill 		     Fred Pfeil
     David Herman 		     Peggy Phelan
     Terry Harpold 		     David Porush
     Marcia Ian                      Mark Poster
     Michael Joyce 		     Judith Roof
     E. Ann Kaplan 		     Susan Schultz
     Matt Kirschenbaum 		     William Spanos
     Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett   Katie Stewart
     Neil Larsen                     Allucquere Roseanne Stone	
     Tan Lin 			     Gary Lee Stonum
     Saree Makdisi 		     Rei Terada
     Brian Massumi		     Darren Tofts
     Jerome McGann 		     Paul Trembath
     Adrian Miles 		     Greg Ulmer
     Jim Morrison 

    Petar Ramadanovic, "Introduction: Trauma and Crisis"
    David Farrell Krell, "'Das Vergangene wird gewusst, das Gewusste 
    [aber] wird erzahlt': Trauma, Forgetting, and Narrative in F.W.J. 
    Schelling's Die Weltalter"
    Petar Ramadanovic, "From Haunting to Trauma: Nietzsche's Active 
    Forgetting and Blanchot's Writing of the Disaster"
    Cathy Caruth, "An Interview with Jean Laplanche"
    Ellie Ragland, "The Psychical Nature of Trauma: Freud's Dora, The 
    Young Homosexual Woman, and the Fort! Da! Paradigm"
    Linda Belau, "Trauma and the Material Signifier"
                         Related Readings
     		    [WWW Version Only]
                         Bibliography of
                        and Critical Theory
     		    [WWW Version Only]
     	            [WWW Version Only]
                      Notes on Contributors
    David Farrell Krell, "'Das Vergangene wird gewusst, das Gewusste 
    [aber] wird erzahlt': Trauma, Forgetting, and Narrative in F.W.J. 
    Schelling's Die Weltalter"
        o Abstract: The article asks about the possibility of trauma
          in the existence of the God of the Old Testament--according
          to the reading of the German Idealist and Romantic 
          philosopher F.W.J. Schelling (1775-1854). At the center of 
          the investigation is Schelling's never-completed book 
          project entitled "The Ages of the World," die Weltalter, on
          which Schelling labored from 1810 to 1815. Even after 
          Schelling put the third and last version aside, however, he 
          continued to work on the set of problems elaborated in his 
          truncated magnum opus. The principal theme of the work is 
          that the primal nature of God is dark, wrathful, and
          violent, albeit ultimately vulnerable. Yet our history has 
          repressed the most distant past of the deity, and Schelling
          must attempt a narrative that will recapture that past. One 
          final complication: God's primal nature is womanly.--dfk
    Petar Ramadanovic, "From Haunting to Trauma: Nietzsche's Active 
    Forgetting and Blanchot's Writing of the Disaster"
        o Abstract: This essay focuses on Nietzsche and the writing 
          of history, closely following Nietzsche's untimely 
          meditation "On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for 
          Life." The essay aims to tease out what it means to bring 
          the past and present into a balanced relation, a relation 
          in which one does not suppress the other. It argues that to 
          think history, and to think historically, we need to think 
          time. Moreover, following Nietzsche further, it is argued 
          that the call for active forgetting needs to be 
          complemented by a thought about the disaster.  The essay 
          then turns to Maurice Blanchot's notion of the writing of 
          the disaster--itself developed in Blanchot's dialogue with,
          among others, Nietzsche. Through an examination of 
          Blanchot, the essay suggests that the impossibility of
          remembering the disaster should not "lead us to invent the 
          right substitute, nor another order of facts and another 
          methodology, another mnemotechnics and mythology, to deal 
          with the immeasurable."  What we may need, rather, is a 
          thought about the future and, with it, a way to mourn the 
          past without surrendering to nostalgia or the hope for
          restitution of past wrongs.--pr
    Cathy Caruth, "An Interview with Jean Laplanche"
        o Abstract: The interview examines the central aspects of 
          Laplanche's crucial reading and rethinking of Freud's  
          notion of trauma in his early work, beginning with 
          Laplanche's pathbreaking insights into the temporal 
          structure of the Freudian notion of trauma and extending to
          Laplanche's reworking of the early seduction theory into a 
          more general and foundational notion.  Laplanche discusses 
          the importance of sexuality in the notion of trauma, the 
          centrality of death and otherness, and the philosphical 
          nature of seduction in his own thinking of the Freudian 
          writing on trauma. The interview then explores Laplanche's 
          more recent extension of these ideas, in particular as they
          inform his notions of translation and of implantation, i.e.
          the implantation of the enigmatic message of the other. 
          Laplanche concludes with some thoughts on the possibilities
          opened in the analytic process, or, as he says, on "the
          temporality of retranslating one's own fate, of 
          retranslating what's coming to this fate from the message 
          of the other."--cc
    Ellie Ragland, "The Psychical Nature of Trauma: Freud's Dora, The 
    Young Homosexual Woman, and the Fort! Da! Paradigm"
        o Abstract: This article takes as textual examples Freud's 
          Dora case, "Fragment of a Little Hysteria" (1905), "The 
          Psychogenesis of a Case of Homosexuality in a Woman" 
          (1920), and the anecdote regarding Freud's nephew playing 
          the Fort! Da! game with a bobbin reel (1915) to demonstrate
          the link of trauma to memory and representation. While 
          trauma is known through repetitions and acts, secrecy and 
          silence surround it. It speaks, then, in enigmas and 
          symptoms. In Lacan's parlance, trauma appears in the real 
          as a limit when unconscious fantasy breaks down. It makes a 
          hole in language.  Freud's early erroneous idea that he had 
          discovered the element of trauma in hysteria in premature 
          sexual experience is re-evaluated by Lacan to argue that 
          the assumption of sexuality is traumatic for all human
          subjects.  Lacan says that Dora, the young homosexual 
          woman, and Freud's nephew all manifest anxiety when they 
          encounter a void place in the Other, showing a limit to   
          thought that gives the sense of a meaning beyond meaning. 
          Dora, when in a state of primal hysteria, depicts this 
          dilemma which Lacan says is an identity problem caused by 
          her not knowing what a woman is. Thus, Lacan gives a logic 
          and a means to what is lacking in Freud's biological 
          theories. Symptoms substitute for something else. Indeed, 
          Lacan explains how a hole is created by unary 
          (identificatory) traits that both make the hole and bound 
          it at the same time.  Dora is traumatized by the role she 
          is expected to play with Herr K. Both the young homosexual 
          woman and Freud's nephew dramatize a sense of "well" being 
          in the position each "has" in the symbolic order. When the 
          young woman loses her place in her father's gaze, she 
          attempts suicide.  When the little boy loses his place in 
          his mother's gaze, he cries before finding a replacement 
          game as a solution to his trauma.--er
    Linda Belau, "Trauma and the Material Signifier"
        o Abstract: Through an analysis of the signifier and its 
          relation to traumatic repetition, this essay explores the 
          necessity of psychoanalytic theory for an analysis of 
          trauma. Arguing that deconstructive approaches, which have 
          come to form the center of what is currently known as 
          "trauma theory," ignore the structure of the subject and, 
          consequently, the significance of the psychoanalytic primal
          scene for the analysis of trauma, the essay argues for a 
          more psychoanalytically-inflected understanding of trauma 
          and the missed event. Inhabiting a time before time, an 
          impossible time, the primal scene--which, for Freud is the 
          most significant missed event--marks the inaugurating 
          moment of society, repression, and the law.  Because 
          analytic practices themselves open onto the space of 
          trauma, enacting a missed encounter, they are necessary to
          begin the arduous process of understanding, or of what 
          Freud calls "remembering, repeating, and working through." 
          Because psychoanalysis is able to commemorate the traumatic 
          missed encounter as the forgotten event, it is able to 
          attend to the structural force of trauma without giving way
          to the temptation to idealize the experience as something 
          untouchable or inaccessible. Such idealization, the essay 
          claims, has been the tendency of some deconstructive 
          theories of trauma that maintain tha trauma is beyond the 
          limits of representation and our symbolic periphery.  
          Through an analysis of the role of the signifier in the 
          traumatic event, the essay argues that trauma, like Lacan's 
          notion of the real, is very much a part of the symbolic, 
          even though it only makes its mark negatively.--lb
Copyright (c) 2001 Postmodern Culture & Johns Hopkins University

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Last Modified: Monday, 04-Jun-2001 16:40:44 EDT