Herrero, M. Dolores and Sonia Baelo Allué (eds.). The Splintered Glass: Facets of
Trauma in the Post-Colony and Beyond.
Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi. 2011. ISBN:

These essays discuss trauma studies as refracted through literature, focusing on the many
ways in which the terms ‘cultural trauma’ and ‘personal trauma’ intertwine in postcolonial
fiction. In a catastrophic age such as the present, trauma itself may serve to provide linkage
through cross-cultural understanding and new forms of community. Western colonization
needs to be theorized in terms of the infliction of collective trauma, and the postcolonial
process is itself a post-traumatic cultural formation and condition. Moreover, the West’s
claim on trauma studies (via the Holocaust) needs to be put in a perspective recuperating
other, non-Western experiences. Geo-historical areas covered include Africa (genital
alteration) and, more specifically, South Africa (apartheid), the Caribbean (racial and
gendered violence in Trinidad; the trauma of Haiti), and Asia (total war in the Philippines;
ethnic violence in India compared to 9/11). Special attention is devoted to Australia
(Aboriginal and multicultural aspects of traumatic experience) and New Zealand (the Maori
Battalion). Writers treated include J.M. Coetzee, Shani Mootoo, Edwidge Danticat, Richard
Flanagan, Janette Turner Hospital, Andrew McGahan, Tim Winton, and Patricia Grace.
Illuminating insights are provided by creative writers (Merlinda Bobis and Meena



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