Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Proceedings of  KUST, Iraq Conference  2022                           Pp.114-125

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The “Unclaimed Experience”: Trauma and Crime Fiction

Maysaa Husam Jaber
Psychological Research Center
Baghdad, Iraq


Recived: 2/17/2022                Accepted:  5/9/2022                  Published: 7/1/2022


This paper examines the intersections between trauma and literature and crime fiction, more specifically. By looking at the representations of trauma in crime fiction, it is argued here that trauma in crime novels involves a multilayered and complex discourse that generates its own narrative, one that relies on techniques like fragmentation, repetition, puzzle-solving, deliberate vagueness, and obscurity. It is also proposed that the use of trauma as a lens to examine crime narratives is both valuable and problematic, as it brings forth the conflict and the tension in the trauma discourse regarding words and wounds; expression and silence; representation and unspeakability. This paper will highlight that exploring the meeting points between trauma and crime narratives can also function as a as a point of departure from the conventional readings of crime fiction and contemplates a reading of the crime novel as trauma fiction. By so doing, this paper stresses the configurations of trauma in crime fiction beyond the medical framework and addresses the aspects and techniques in which trauma is centrally positioned in crime narratives.
Keywords : crime fiction, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, psychology, trauma, , trauma fiction

Cite as: Jaber, M.H.  (2022). The “Unclaimed Experience”: Trauma and Crime Fiction. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ)
Proceedings of  KUST, Iraq Conference 2022


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Received: 2/17/2022
Accepted: 5/9/2022 
Published: 7/1/2022

Maysaa H. Jaber is a lecturer at the Psychological Research Center and teaches different modules on literature to undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Baghdad. She published with Palgrave, Cambridge Scholars, The Canadian Review of American Studies, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, and Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction. Her first manuscript The Criminal Femmes Fatales in American Hardboiled Crime Fiction came out in 2016 with Palgrave Macmillan, Springer.