This article proposes to investigate a transnational lineage of female-authored trauma narratives that centre on how overarching power structures affect the lives of women. My line of inquiry traces the legacy of transgenerational and socially transmissible trauma through the maternal protagonists in the works of Toni Morrison (Beloved, 1987), Elsa Morante (History: A Novel, 1974) and Elena Ferrante (Neapolitan Novels, 2011-15). In a comparative reading underpinned by Rothberg’s notion of the multidirectional negotiation of cultural memory, I identify a series of tropes in the authors’ works that effectively articulate trauma. These include the figures of spectral returns and ghosts, nondiscursive signs and images and other linguistic and structural disarticulations, which all serve to challenge and indeed recodify a dominant master discourse. Ultimately, I show that all three authors’ works powerfully intercept and translate the spectral (hi)stories of diverse settings of violence and trauma whilst engaging in a multidirectional, dynamic and transnational dialogue.
Wehling-Giorgi, K. Unspeakable Things Spoken: Legacies of Transgenerational Trauma in Toni Morrison, Elsa Morante and Elena Ferrante’s Works. Romance Studies,