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"The Ghost of That Ineluctable Past": Trauma and Memory in John Banville's Frames Trilogy

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

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John Banville’s Frames Trilogy—which consists of The Book of Evidence, Ghosts, and Athena—is a series of interconnected novels haunted by the memory of a singular, traumatic event: the senseless murder of an innocent woman at the hands of the Trilogy’s first-person narrator. This thesis project examines the central role that the corresponding themes of trauma and memory play within these three testimonial novels as they grapple with the horror of the crime and its guilt-ridden aftermath. Utilizing the critical frameworks of both trauma studies and Irish memory studies, I argue that the traumas embedded within the narrator’s distinctively Irish memory constitute the thematic core of the Trilogy and generate its emotive power. Further, I contend that the evident symptoms of traumatic memory within the text operate on the levels of both content and form, thereby revealing how the writing process subconsciously functions as a therapeutic exercise for both fictional narrator and real-life author alike. In so doing, this thesis significantly advances the ongoing critical re-evaluation within Banville scholarship of the author’s literary engagement with his Irish socio-political and historical milieu.
Frames Trilogy
Irish studies
John Banville
Berry, Scott Joseph (author)
Holdridge, Jefferson (committee chair)
Maine, Barry (committee member)
Kuberski, Philip (committee member)
2017-01-14T09:35:33Z (accessioned)
2017-01-14T09:35:33Z (available)
2016 (issued)
English (discipline)
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/64200 (uri)
en (iso)
Wake Forest University
"The Ghost of That Ineluctable Past": Trauma and Memory in John Banville's Frames Trilogy

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