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Reading the Trace in Modern and Contemporary

Rosario Arias and Lin Petterson (eds)

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18 Dec 2022

ISBN 9781780241005 (Paperback)
268 pp., Free UK Shipping


This volume consists of three sections, which aim to cover the different applications of the ‘trace’ to various authors and texts, crossing temporal and cultural boundaries, as it ranges from turn-of-the-century ghost stories to twenty-first century fictional texts, thus illustrating the usefulness of the notion of the ‘trace’ in multiple contexts and time periods: ‘Modern Traces’, ‘Contemporary Traces’ and ‘Traces of the Other’. The first part comprises four chapters in which modern authors are discussed through the lens of the ‘trace’, and its links with the in-between figure of the ghost, the spectre, and the absent presence of memory and trauma. In the second section, entitled ‘Contemporary Traces’, the ‘trace’ appears as a repository of memory since through traces as material remnants, it is possible to reconstruct the past. Trauma, illness and memory feature prominently in this part. Re-membering is also at stake because traces are further discussed as somatic marks and wounds from the point of view of disability studies. The last section, ‘Traces of the Other’, is devoted to the ‘trace’ and identity and cultures of the ‘other’ through the conceptualisations of the ‘trace’ provided by Jacques Derrida, Emmanuel Levinas and Paul Ricoeur.



Introduction: The ‘Trace’ in Contemporary Literary Criticism

Traces of Light and Dark: History, Memory and Landscape in the Ghost Stories of E. F. Benson

Definition, Recurrence, Type and Functions of Ghosts (as Traces) in James Joyce’s Ulysses

‘Unnatural Promises’: The Trace of Evil in Elizabeth Bowen’s ‘The Demon Lover’

The Straight Line Is Not the Most Artistic Path Between Two Points: Graphic Images in Conrad’s Lord Jim: A Tale

Memory Texts and Material Traces: Michèle Roberts’s Retrieval of the Past in Daughters of the House and Ignorance

Traces of Memory and Perception in Samantha Harvey’s The Wilderness (2009) and Anne Enright’s The Gathering (2007)

Re-membering the Body in Philip Roth’s The Dying Animal

Of Bodily Traces, No-Traces, Non-Traces and Virtual Traces: The Conversion of Human Remains in Literature and Culture

Cultural Haunting and the ‘Trace’ of the Colonial Other in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Short Fiction

The Trace as Passage of Becoming in The Passion According to G. H.Nieves Pascual Soler

Dressing Differently: Dress as a Derridean Trace in the Fictions of the South Asian Diaspora in Britain

Notes on Contributors


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