This course will be a study of the paradox of trauma literature. Stories that compel their telling, yet are unassimilated and unspeakable, these works grow out of disasters on an individual and/or collective scale. To better understand Anne Whitehead’s assertion that writers “have frequently found that the impact of trauma can only adequately be represented by mimicking its forms and symptoms, so that temporality and chronology collapse, and narratives are characterized by repetition and indirection,” we will read representative narratives by authors including Toni Morrison, Juan Goytisolo, Art Spiegelman, Slavoj Zizek, and W.G. Sebald, in conversation with major theoretical contributions by Freud, Herman, Caruth, LaCapra, and Whitehead. This will be a reading and writing-intensive course.