1981
The Health of the Short Story: Part 1
  • ISSN: 2043-0701
  • E-ISSN: 2043-071X

Abstract

A growing field at the intersection of literary and trauma studies makes the persuasive case for creative writing as a means to represent and process trauma across a range of genres from traditional memoir to hybrid and fictionalized approaches. Yet, despite this, how the specific qualities of short fiction can expand on existing modes remains theoretically underexplored. This article offers an intervention into the aforementioned field through an exploration into how the qualities of brevity and experiment that are associated with short fiction can be employed to mirror and synthesize aspects of the psychoanalyst Carl Jung’s ground-breaking work on the unconscious and his narrative approaches to processing trauma. First, this article presents the short story ‘Disappearing Act’, a hybrid of memoir and short fiction based on a personal traumatic experience of childhood abuse and informed by the Jungian concept of individuation (commonly referred to in contemporary psychoanalytic circles as shadow work). Second, it includes an accompanying critical reflection on the story’s creative process and the ways in which autobiographical short fiction can be employed as a mode of shadow work to demonstrate how the form operated as a creatively rich device to process traumatic life material for this writer.

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2022-04-01
2022-12-08
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