Regaining lost humanity: dealing with trauma in exile

Edited book (chapter)


Parkes, Geoffrey and Mason, Robert. 2015. "Regaining lost humanity: dealing with trauma in exile." Goodall, Jane and Lee, Chirstopher (ed.) Trauma and public memory. New York. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 163-173
Chapter Title

Regaining lost humanity: dealing with trauma in exile

Book Chapter CategoryEdited book (chapter)
ERA Publisher ID2865
Book TitleTrauma and public memory
AuthorsParkes, Geoffrey (Author) and Mason, Robert (Author)
EditorsGoodall, Jane and Lee, Chirstopher
Page Range163-173
SeriesPalgrave Macmillan Memory Studies
Number of Pages11
Year2015
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Place of PublicationNew York
ISBN9781137406798
Web Address (URL)http://www.palgrave.com/la/book/9781137406798
Abstract

If the processes of forced migration involve trauma, distance and rupture, what does it mean if both your country of origin and your new home try to erase you from their public memory? In this chapter, we present the literary work of Cuban-born Reinaldo Arenas as a representation of resilience against multiple traumas. Rather than dissociation, often found in documented cases of trauma, Arenas’s projections of self and place were a productive mechanism he used to survive. Literally and figuratively, for much of his life Arenas lived that embodied conviction, that indeed ‘words – might save him’ (1989, p. 49).
Through the use of concepts that explore exile, re-storying, and the imagination, the chapter argues that Arenas’s work actively resisted the attempts by both the Cuban government and fellow exiles to create a homogenous and sanitised public memory. His re-narration of Cuba and the emphasis he placed on publishing his works until he could no longer physically write have implications with regard to how literary representations of trauma are analysed and the theoretical grounds that support them. Finally, we want to draw attention to the experiences of an individual targeted by forces of state and non-state institutions, demonstrating the complexities of lived experience when connected with larger cultural narratives.

KeywordsReinaldo Arenas; exile; trauma; restorying; homosexual literature; Cuba
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020440599. Gender studies not elsewhere classified
470599. Literary studies not elsewhere classified
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Byline AffiliationsOpen Access College
School of Arts and Communication
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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