History, memory and trauma as well as their complex interrelations have been lying at the centre of interdisciplinary academic debates since the end of the previous century. These are also themes with which contemporary writers and other artists are increasingly preoccupied in their work. History, Memory, Trauma in Contemporary British and Irish Fiction is an attempt at analysing the relationship between history, memory and trauma in the selected novels of Pat Barker, Sebastian Barry, Kazuo Ishiguro and John Banville. The author examines the notion of memory in a variety of contexts: collective memory in the historical novels of Barker and Barry, individual memory as a foundation of the sense of self in the novels of Banville and Ishiguro, and traumatic memory in the novels of Barry and Ishiguro. By applying the theoretical framework of trauma studies to the work of those renowned writers, History, Memory, Trauma offers new interpretations of their novels. The author demonstrates that contemporary fiction moves beyond mere representation of trauma and engages the reader in the role of co-witness who enables the process of working through trauma.
BEATA PIĄTEK is a lecturer and researcher at the Institute of English Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. She specialises in literary and cultural studies, her interests include: memory, narrative and identity in contemporary British fiction, and the dynamics of exchange between film and literature. In 2002, she co-edited with Peter Leese and Izabela Curyłło-Klag an anthology The British Migrant Experience 1700–2000 (Palgrave), she has published articles about the work of Ian McEwan, Martin Amis, Kazuo Ishiguro, Colm Tóibín, Sebastian Barry and John Banville.