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Bényei Tamás

A gyarmati élet pszichopatológiája

Tamás Bényei

The Psychopathology of Colonial Life: Collective Trauma in Paul Scott’s Raj Quartet


The essay intends to read Scott’s tetralogy as trauma fiction that is concerned with the traumatic experience of the Anglo-Indian community in the last days of the Raj. The novel stages the attempts of the community to come to terms with the traumatic nature of colonial intersubjectivity and with the loss of the symbolic identity attached to the civilising project. Although the traumatic kernel is condensed in the Bibighar affair and in the scene between Merrick and Kumar, I argue that these events are symptoms rather than sources of trauma, and that the repetitive nature of the text might be seen as a symptomatic and futile series of willed and unconscious attempts to work through the diffused, disseminated trauma.

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