Dreams and atrocity

The oneiric in representations of trauma

Emily-Rose Baker
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Diane Otosaka
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Exploring the status of the oneiric beyond psychoanalysis, Dreams and atrocity synthesises interdisciplinary perspectives from literary criticism, medical humanities, memory and cultural studies, history and art practice. The volume sheds new light on the relevance of dreams as modes of psychic resistance and historical witness as well as symptoms of trauma in modern and contemporary representations of atrocity. Central to the book is the articulation of the oneiric’s potential to awaken us to the pervasive violence of our contemporary world – providing us with the means not only of diagnosing but also of responding to historical episodes of atrocity, from twentieth-century genocide to contemporary racism and transphobia. The contributors develop new ways of reading the dreamlike in cultural works, foregrounding its power as an aesthetic mode and political tool. Organised into three parts – ‘Dream images’, ‘Dreams as sites of resistance’, and ‘Violent states’ – the book conducts a timely enquiry into the role played by the unconscious in processing and illustrating atrocity in an increasingly violent world. In so doing, it attends to the significance of dreams in dark times, illuminating the triangulated relationship between dream life, memory and trauma.

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