David Vann’s Legend of a Suicide: Dismantling the Trauma Paradigm

This article argues that David Vann’s Legend of a Suicide (2008) offers us a culturally significant exploration of hegemonic theories around how we understand, or are said to understand, the temporality of trauma, its effect upon identity via its effect upon memory, and its representation in narrative. Moreover, the specific structure of Vann’s text as a short story cycle enables it to present, query and disrupt ways of thinking about chronology, narrative, and identity, such that it offers a productive modeling of the complications inherent in adhering to exclusionary and prescriptive ideas about how trauma might be narrated.

from: Valerie O’Riordan (2022) David Vann’s Legend of a Suicide: Dismantling the Trauma Paradigm, Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 

Link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00111619.2022.2110853

Note: This article focuses on how the short story cycle as a form enables the exploration of a particular theme (trauma) of a particular work (in this case, Vann’s).


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