Unclaimed Experience Trauma, Narrative and History Cathy Caruth

pg 187. The historical power of trauma is not just that the experience is repeated after its forgetting , but that it is only in and through its inherent forgetting that it is first experienced at all… For history to be a history of trauma means that it is referential precisely to the extent that it is not fully perceived as it occurs; or to put it somewhat differently that a history can be grasped only in the very inaccessibility of its occurrence.

[pg 189 (also quote taken from and traslanted Moses and Monotheism from sigmund Freud, Studienausgabe Band 9 , Frankfort on Main :1982) For the Invasion is characterized, not in terms of its attendant persecutions and threats, of which the Freud family did in fact have their share, but in terms of the somewhat different emphasis of a simple phrase: “it forced me to leave my home, but it also freed me”.

pg 192 – In the last line he write to his son , the last words – “to die in freedom” – are not, like the rest of the sentence , written in German, but rather in English. The announcement of his freedom , and of his dying, is given in a language that can be heard by those in the new place to which he brings his voice, to us …


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