This course will be a study of the paradoxes of trauma literature. Stories that compel their telling, yet are unassimilated and unspeakable, this writing grows out of disaster and crisis on an individual and/or collective scale. To better understand Anne Whitehead’s assertion that “Novelists 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 explore representative narratives by authors including Toni Morrison, Juan Goytisolo, Art Spiegelman, Slavoj Žižek, Susan Sontag, and W.G. Sebald, in conversation with major theoretical contributions by Benjamin, Freud, Herman, Caruth, LaCapra, and Halbwachs. This will be a reading and writing intensive course.