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New Visibilities: Victimhood and Other Forms of Vulnerability in 21st-century Fiction (eds. Jean-Michel Ganteau and Susana Onega) addresses the relationship between trauma and ethics, and moves one step further to engage with vulnerability studies in their relation to literature and literary form. It consists of an introduction and of twelve articles written by specialists from various European countries and includes an interview with US novelist Jayne Anne Philips, conducted by her translator into French, Marc Amfreville, addressing her latest novel, Quiet Dell, through the victimhood-vulnerability prism. The corpus of primary sources on which the volume is based draws on various literary backgrounds in English, from Britain to India, through the USA. All contributions are original.
The manuscript begins with a substantial, fairly theoretical introduction in which the editors draw on material from the ethics of alterity, trauma studies and the ethics of vulnerability in line with the work of moral philosophers like Emmanuel Levinas, as well as with a more recent and challenging tradition of continental thinkers, virtually unknown so far in the English-speaking world, represented by Guillaume Le Blanc, Nathalie Maillard, and Corinne Pelluchon, among others. Yet another related line of thought followed in the volume is that represented by
feminist critics like Catriona McKenzie, Wendy Rogers and Susan Dodds. Our developments on the theories of victimhood and vulnerability are also informed by the ethics of care. Overall, the introduction documents the shift from a culture of suspicion to one in which attention to the status of the victim has been given pride of place. Yet another theoretical area to which the introduction is also indebted is that of precariousness studies, and more particularly the work of Judith Butler.