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Kaplan, C.M. (2013). “Sudden Holes in Space and Time”: Trauma, Dissociation, and the Precariousness of Everyday Life. Psychoanal. Inq., 33(5):467-478.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 33(5):467-478

“Sudden Holes in Space and Time”: Trauma, Dissociation, and the Precariousness of Everyday Life

Carola M. Kaplan, PsyD

Famous early on for his tales of the sea and exotic adventure, Joseph Conrad, in the course of his literary career, became increasingly interested in the difficulties of domestic life. In The Secret Agent (1907), most particularly, Conrad exposes the dangers and deficiencies of family life, especially its failure to protect women and children. The extremities of affect and trauma suffered by the characters in this novel may serve to illuminate the murkier and less extreme versions of trauma and consequent dissociation, as encountered in contemporary psychoanalytic treatment. Indeed, Conrad's examination of the underbelly of domestic relationships has helped me to understand the vicissitudes of family life and related experiences of trauma and dissociation suffered by several of my patients, as illustrated by two clinical examples.

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