From Magical Thinking to Magical Realism: Imagination and Queer Survival in Jeanette Winterson's Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

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Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between writing, fantasy and trauma. It links the psychological dimension of fantasy and imagination with literary creativity and the stylistic choice of writing in the fantastic mode. The paper is in particular interested in how the unrepresentability of trauma is expressed textually. In a close reading of Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (1985) I explore how the novel draws on the fantastic mode of magical realism to illustrate the condition of trauma and how the novel’s literary form thus mirrors the practice of ‘magical thinking’ which its main character engages in as a means of self preservation. The key argument of the paper is that although the novel’s narrative to some extent seeks to ‘contain’ the childhood trauma, its impact is mainly experienced through the novel’s form, which registers rather than ‘represents’ the imprint of trauma.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTranslate Trauma Network Research Day
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventTranslate Trauma Network Research Day - University of Sussex
Duration: 1 Jan 2009 → …

Conference

ConferenceTranslate Trauma Network Research Day
Period1/01/09 → …

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