Chapter 1. “The Negotiated Truth”
Jensen offers a useful outline of the history of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a much-needed summary of the latest research from the fields of psychology, sociology, and neuroscience on its causes and symptoms. Focussing on novelist JG Ballard’s formulation of autobiographical representations as “negotiated truth,” Jensen explores the implications of such negotiations in the context of trauma from testimony to graphic memoir, from prison poetry to war memorials. Drawing on material from her own personal and professional life and autobiographical projects from the likes of Ballard, Herman Melville, Virginia Woolf and others, Jensen draws attention to the altered relationship to meaning inscribed by traumatic injury and the impact of that new way of seeing the past on representations of such experiences in all forms and genres. Negotiated truth, Jensen argues, is the key rhetorical figure in the art and science of trauma and the autobiographical.