Kate Rose is a professor at China University of Mining and Technology, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate students of English and conducts research with the International Center for Comparative Sinology. She is also responsible for international academic conferences and publications. Before this, she earned a Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Montpellier, France, on magical realism and the quest for freedom in contemporary French and Francophone women’s writings (also topic of her first book, Décoloniser l’imaginaire). She developed a socio-literary approach charting fiction’s potential for overturning sex-based hierarchies, including through recognition of the full effects of sexual violence and trauma. At Boston College, she was heavily influenced by courses with radical feminist philosopher Mary Daly. Currently, Kate is leading projects with Chinese scholars, including translations of women’s writings and the forthcoming publication of an interdisciplinary anthology, Creative China. She teaches comparative literature, creative writing, theater, cross-cultural communication, and American sociology. Her work continues to focus on contemporary writings around the world and their significance for women’s advancement, from a comparative and transformative perspective. She is also a novelist, poet, and playwright. Feel free to get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article applies the research of French psychiatrist Muriel Salmona to literary analysis of Stieg Larsson’s protagonist, Lisbeth Salander, in the Millennium trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 2008; The Girl Who Played with Fire, 2009; The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, 2010). It suggests that Larsson’s novels may be useful in raising awareness of childhood sexual abuse, through reading neglected signs linked to the neurology of traumatic memory. In the tradition of Nordic noir novels, hyperboles in Salander’s sensationalized identity serve to magnify and bring to light a misunderstood social problem. The article draws mainly on Salmona’s book, Le Livre Noir Violences Sexuelles (2013) which has been influential in France but has not yet reached the rest of the world. The ground-breaking implications of Salmona’s work explaining traumatic memory and linking it to sex inequality are explored and used for literary analysis. This socio-literary approach treats literature as a laboratory for better understanding real-life problems. In this case, it is akin to the rising trend of narrative medicine including in literary criticism, particularly, critical discourse analysis. Salmona’s theories and Larsson’s fictional character share many features, suggesting Larsson, like many writers, was ahead of his time. Not bound by scientific constraints, novelists can forge ahead with how they perceive the current world, shaping it in turn through raising awareness in readers.
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"Abuse or Be Abused: Traumatic Memory, Sex Inequality, and Millennium as a Socio-Literary Device,"
Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence:
3, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dignity/vol3/iss3/6
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