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Contemporary American Trauma Narratives$
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Alan Gibbs

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748641147

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748641147.001.0001

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9/11, Collective Trauma, and Postmodernist Responses

9/11, Collective Trauma, and Postmodernist Responses

Chapter:
(p.117) Chapter 3 9/11, Collective Trauma, and Postmodernist Responses
Source:
Contemporary American Trauma Narratives
Author(s):

Alan Gibbs

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748641147.003.0004

Chapter 3 focuses on postmodernist responses to 9/11, primarily Art Spiegelman’s short graphic memoir, In the Shadow of No Towers and Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The chapter argues that responses to 9/11, cultural or political, may be placed somewhere on a spectrum between historicism and decontextualisation, that is, respectively, those texts which integrated the events of 9/11 into an ongoing geopolitical historical narrative, and those which saw them, by contrast, as an outrageous and unprecedented limit event. As Chapter 3 maintains, right-wing commentators aided the Bush administration in perpetuating the latter ‘rupture’ view and, as Spiegelman’s text angrily delineates, using the resultant feelings of victimhood as a spur to military action.

Keywords:   Spiegelman, Foer, 9/11, Bush administration, postmodernism, collective trauma, aestheticisation

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