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The best trauma narrative I know is Aftermath

fear-1131143_1280The best trauma narrative I know is Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of the Self, by Susan Brison.  It’s an account of her rape and attempted murder.  I call it the best trauma narrative because it combines philosophy, trauma theory, and narrative.  Alice Sebold’s Lucky, probably the most well known rape narrative (reviewed in this blog), is better written, and makes a more compelling story.  But Susan Brison is a distinguished philosopher, and she approaches her trauma, and trauma theory in general, from a perspective that combines philosophy and experience.    

Actually, Brison doesn’t think being a philosopher did her much good.  Rape and trauma challenge philosophy because they reveal how embodied we all are.  Before we are minds, even before we are body-minds, we are body.  Philosophy is generally not comfortable with bodies.  Philosophy is practiced by questioning the obvious, asking questions such as “what is time?”  But when confronted with an experience that is overwhelmingly obvious, her rape and near murder, Brison found no comfort in philosophy. 

But now, when I was confronted with the utterly strange and paradoxical, philosophy was of no use. (p. x)

 

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