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Title:Memoried flesh: shock and trauma in late nineteenth-century Russian fiction
Author(s):Hamrick, Anna L
Director of Research:Murav, Harriet L
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Murav, Harriet L
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Kaganovsky, Lilya; Finke, Michael; Sobol, Valeria; Kaplan, Brett
Department / Program:Comparative & World Literature
Discipline:Comparative Literature
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Russian Literature
history of mental sciences
Abstract:This dissertation focuses on representations of nervous shock and trauma in nineteenth-century Russian literature, with special focus on the works by Fedor Dostoevsky and Anton Chekhov. The current genealogy of trauma relies heavily on the work of Sigmund Freud and of subsequent scholars and is often retrospectively imported into analyses of nineteenth-century literary texts. In contrast, the author of this study relies on a two-directional interpretive move, in which both nineteenth-century theories and present-day scholarship are put into a mutually elucidating dialog, leading to previously unexplored interpretive avenues. Furthermore, the author asserts that literary analysis serves as a useful tool for this genealogical project, because both nineteenth-century fiction and the period's sciences of the mind were part of a broad intellectual milieu, wherein fiction's nuanced exploration of its characters' psyches opened new avenues of psychological inquiry for the mental sciences. Ultimately, the author demonstrates that nineteenth-century nervous shock, unlike present-day trauma, is overwhelmingly chronic (as opposed to acute) and physiological (as opposed to psychogenic) in nature, with pathology primarily originating in the nervous system. Furthermore, whereas with trauma, emphasis is placed on the role of the brain and ultimately on narrativization for potential healing, with shock, intervention is overwhelmingly physiological in nature and does not necessarily involve the direct participation of the brain. Instead, injury, its transmission to future generations, as well as healing can all take place purely on the level of the body, without the direct involvement of consciousness and the brain.
Issue Date:2016-04-13
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Anna L. Hamrick
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-07-07
Date Deposited:2016-05

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