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Tip: Books are sorted alphabetically…

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The list of books available on PEP Web is sorted alphabetically, with the exception of Freud’s Collected Works, Glossaries, and Dictionaries. You can find this list in the Books Section.

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Skomorowsky, A. (2015). Listening to Trauma: Conversations with Leaders in the Theory and Treatment of Catastrophic Experience, by Cathy Caruth, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2014, 367 pp., $24.95.. Psychodyn. Psych., 43(3):498-501.

(2015). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 43(3):498-501

Listening to Trauma: Conversations with Leaders in the Theory and Treatment of Catastrophic Experience, by Cathy Caruth, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2014, 367 pp., $24.95.

Review by:
Anne Skomorowsky, M.D.

So where are the screams?” is the question at the heart of Cathy Caruth's collection of conversations, Listening to Trauma. During the author's interview with Dori Laub—Holocaust survivor, psychoanalyst, and a founder of the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimony at Yale—Laub describes the speed with which those who would live and those who would die were chosen and separated at the Auschwitz selection ramp. It took only 20 minutes to unload the trains and divide thousands of victims. The pressure, the rushing, is not conveyed in historical documents. Nor are the sounds of the Jews; the films we have are all silent. Only witnesses remember the screams (p. 55).

The book is concerned with the acts of witnessing, bearing witness, and bearing false witness. It looks at the effects of violence on the individual who experiences it and on the clinician who treats the traumatized. It asks not only how trauma can be healed in a single patient, but also how it can be metabolized by a culture.

Caruth is a professor of the humanities who has written several books on trauma in history and literature. Though deeply engaged with psychoanalytic thought, she is not a clinician. In Listening to Trauma, she functions as journalist.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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