By Susan Kingsley Kent

This e-book examines the impression of collective trauma coming up out of the nice conflict at the politics of the Twenties in Britain. Aftershocks reports how meanings of shellshock and imagery providing the traumatized psyche as shattered contributed to Britons understandings in their political selves within the Twenties. It connects the strength of feelings to the political tradition of a decade which observed impressive violence opposed to these considered as un-English.

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Extra resources for Aftershocks: The Politics of Trauma in Britain, 1918-1931

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The dreaded blueness” of the face caused by heliotrope cyanosis disturbed observers, lay persons and physicians alike, who cited the incidence of this particular manifestation repeatedly. “The purple-black skin was terrifying to everyone,” wrote Eileen Pettigrew. ” It was this symptom that signalled almost certain death, doctors came to understand. “It was amongst cases of this type that the great mortality of the epidemic occurred,” observed the Ministry of Health physicians. ”25 The flu left survivors with a variety of mental symptoms, many of them represented by physicians and the press in terms similar to those used to describe sufferers of shell shock.

42 Veterans, men and women alike, found that the society to which they returned could not or would not embrace them with the respect and dignity they believed their sacrifices had earned them. 43 Out of work, finding it difficult to adapt to civilian life, these one-time heroes were now “returned soldiers,” “a problem to their country, if not a bore,” as Rathbone noted. ” Veterans especially resented the apparent failure of postwar society to appreciate the nature of those sacrifices, to ask them to go about their lives as if no traces of the wounds of war existed.

Neurobiologists have found that the brain re-constructs its “architecture” as new experiences registered through the eyes or the ears or other sensory organs are gathered and ordered in certain groups of interconnected cells; over time, the sensory input of images or experiences is categorized into “schemes” or patterns into which the mind seeks to place new information or sensory input. H. Calvin, a model that operates to organize memories according to its pre-existing structures. One’s relationship to those memories, fitting into a pattern informed by the visual images of shattered, fragmented things and people, trauma theorists argue, constitutes one’s identity, in effect.

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