The sorrows of an American, Siri Hustvedt (2008)


  • p.51-52: “History is made by amnesia. In the American Civil War, they called it soldier’s heart, and over time it changed its name to shell shock, then war neurosis. Now it’s PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, the most antiseptic of the terms of what can happen to people who witness the unspeakable. During World War I, in the barracks of field hospitals French and British doctors saw them coming in droves – men blind, deaf, shaking, paralyzed, aphasic, catatonic, hallucinating, plagued by recurring nightmares and insomnia, seeing and re-seeing what no one should see, or feeling nothing at all. Clearly, they weren’t all suffering from brain lesions, so the physicians began to tag their patients NYD (not yet diagnosed) or GOK (God only knows) or Dieu seul sait quoi (God only knows what this is).”
  •  p. 278: “I thought about (…) my father and grandfather and about the earlier generations who occupy the mental terrain within us and the silences on that old ground, where shifting wraiths pass or speak in voices so low we can’t hear what they are saying.”

“Des fantomes dans la voix”

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