Trauma by Ruth Leys
A Genealogy

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Psychic trauma is one of the most frequently invoked ideas in the behavioral sciences and the humanities today. Yet bitter disputes have marked the discussion of trauma ever since it first became an issue in the 1870s, growing even more heated in recent years following official recognition of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In a book that is bound to ignite controversy, Ruth Leys investigates the history of the concept of trauma. She explores the emergence of multiple personality disorder, Freud's approaches to trauma, medical responses to shellshock and combat fatigue, Sándor Ferenczi's revisions of psychoanalysis, and the mutually reinforcing, often problematic work of certain contemporary neurobiological and postmodernist theorists. Leys argues that the concept of trauma has always been fundamentally unstable, oscillating uncontrollably between two competing models, each of which tends at its limit to collapse into the other.

A powerfully argued work of intellectual history, Trauma will rewrite the terms of future discussion of its subject.

About Ruth Leys

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Ruth Leys is director of the Humanities Center and Henry Wiesenfeld Professor at Johns Hopkins University. Her books include "Trauma: A Genealogy.
Published December 15, 2010 by University of Chicago Press. 336 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Education & Reference, Professional & Technical, Self Help, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Can trauma really be relived or is the quality of memory such that it is impossible to repeat experience except by a sort of theatrical simulation? What actually happens in therapy in which repressed

Jun 12 2000 | Read Full Review of Trauma : A Genealogy

Publishers Weekly

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Not for the intellectually timid, this book moves through psychoanalytic theory from Freud and Ferenczi to Lacan, encompassing the treatment of trauma victims from three wars and ending with a scathing critique of the newer neurobiologically influenced theories of Cathy Caruth and Besel A.

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Project MUSE

The burgeoning interdisciplinary literature on trauma is both a response to and a symptom of our times, and Ruth Leys's Trauma: A Genealogy aims to clarify the central issues.

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