A Posthumous Shock, with Will Self | Harper's Magazine

Sign in to access Harper’s Magazine

Need to create a login? Want to change your email address or password? Forgot your password?

  1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
  2. Select Email/Password Information.
  3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.

Locked out of your account? Get help here.

Subscribers can find additional help here.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!

Get Access to Print and Digital for $23.99.
Subscribe for Full Access
Get Access to Print and Digital for $23.99.
Rethinking the ways we perceive trauma in the past and present

Will Self, author of Umbrella, How the Dead Live, and a new memoir, Will, discusses his provocative argument that trauma—in literary, historical, and cultural criticism—is wildly overused and misapplied. Rather than it being a phenomenon that has persisted throughout human history, Self contends that it is a product of modernity; while past injustices and injurious experience (war, slavery, abuse) may seem to have produced trauma-like symptoms, we have no way of judging whether they resemble trauma as we now conceive of it. Harper’s Magazine web editor Violet Lucca talks through the finer points of Self’s thesis.

Never miss an episode! Subscribe to our podcast:

More from