In memory of Daniel Stern (Jan. 18, 1928 -- Jan. 24, 2007)
This article provides a brief historical overview of the changing perspectives in trauma studies, the field that has spawned an academic interest in the nature and impact of traumatic experiences. The latest insights of psychotherapists, historians, and cultural and literary critics such as Dori Laub, Bessel van der Kolk, Dominick LaCapra, Saul Friendlander, and Cathy Caruth about witnessing, testimony,
representation, and working-through traumatic experiences are used as a frame of reference for the analysis of two novels by the Jewish American novelist Daniel Stern, whose work has somehow failed to achieve canonical status. Sternís two early Holocaust novels, Who Shall Live, Who Shall Die (1963) and After the War (1967), it is argued, are remarkable, not only for their understanding of the psychological effects of trauma, but also for their use of narrative strategies to mitigate and contain the traumas that dwell at the core of these novels.