Representation of Psychic Trauma in Ukrainian Modernist Prose

  • Author / Creator
    Polianska, Daria A
  • Trauma is unspeakable and hard to comprehend. Thus, it is through the artistic expression of the internal and external conflicts caused by traumatic events that we can come to a deeper understanding of trauma. I consider three Ukrainian texts about WWI and the Revolution of 1917 as important literary testimonies of a people’s traumatized psyche. Therefore, this dissertation focuses on the representation of psychic trauma in works by Osyp Turians'kyi, Mykola Khvyl'ovyi and Borys Antonenko-Davydovych.
    I discuss how these authors write about subjective traumatic experiences as having roots in social life. To do that, I perform close readings of their texts from the perspectives of modernist styles, I employ the analysis of narrative modes for presenting consciousness (Dorrit Cohn) and I explore the role of literary dreams and dreamlike states in indicating the protagonists’ psychological breakdown. I claim that modernist writers depict the shift from conscious to unconscious states of mind, revealing the invisible effects of collective political and ideological pressures on a person’s consciousness. I suggest that by presenting the personal trauma of their protagonists’ through daydreaming, hypnagogic imagery, hallucinations, and madness—as well as dreams per se—these writers delineate the collective tragedy of the Ukrainian nation during war and revolution.
    Ergo, this study considers the relationship between psychological, stylistic and narrative aspects of trauma prose as well as the literary devices used by the writers. The analysis of artistic ways to represent traumatic experiences aids in recognizing the transhistorical impact of trauma as well as the connection between past events and their effect on the realities of the present.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2019
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
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