Terrorizing Images and Traumatic Anticipation in Michael Cunningham’s The Hours
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OriginalversjonLangås, U. (2020). Terrorizing Images and Traumatic Anticipation in Michael Cunningham’s The Hours. I Armstrong & Langås (Red.), Terrorizing Images (s. 67-84). De Gruyter. doi: 10.1515/9783110693959-005
Unni Langås’s chapter is a reading of The Hours (1998), which echoes not only Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway (1925), but also Sigmund Freud’s Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920). From Woolf’s post-WWI novel, Cunningham picks up the motif of trauma-ridden suicide and re-inscribes it into the character of an HIV-positive author at the end of the twentieth century. Cunningham repeats the idea of trauma as a return of images in individuals, but his novel is also a repetition of images, understood as ekphrastic descriptions and intertextual dialogue with literary references. Langås’s reading emphasizes how the acute crisis of the novel’s AIDS context turns the haunting images of the past into terrorizing anticipations of the future.