Trauma and the Question of Representation: Contemporary Trauma Theory, Sigmund Freud and Walter Benjamin

Aleksandar Mijatović
The paper deals with the question of whether the works of art, ranging from the written to the pictorial, can be a refuge from the radical transformation of subjectivity triggered by traumatic events in the social and historical reality. There fore, the first part of the presentation gives an overview of the problems of contemporary interpretations of trauma. Freud’s introduction of art as an analogy for the interpretation of trauma is presented in the important writing called Beyond the Pleasure Principle. Th e fi nal part of the presentation attempts to shed light on how the German critic Walter Benjamin builds his concept of lyrical subject (On Some Motifs in Baudelaire) and the subject of observation (Th e Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction) through the critical exchange with Freud’s concept of shock. Through such presentation of Freud and Benjamin, it is shown that trauma has the role of a breaking event. Modern researchers argue that trauma has that function only if the social and historical reality is seen as finished and complete.
Key words
trauma; lyrical subject; subject of observation; interpretation; experience/ sensation; Kirby Farrell; James Berger; Ulrich Baer; Sigmund Freud; Walter Benjamin
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