Byzantium & Friends

60. Representing the trauma of captivity, enslavement, and degradation, with Adam Goldwyn

December 9, 2021

A conversation with Adam Goldwyn (North Dakota State University) about first-person narratives whose protagonists experience foreign conquest, captivity, enslavement, degradation, humiliation, and loss of rights. It is based on his recent book Witness Literature in Byzantium: Narrating Slaves, Prisoners, and Refugees (Palgrave MacMillan 2021), which uses comparisons to the literature of the Holocaust and the Atlantic slave trade to illuminate the insights of Byzantine texts that represent similar personal experiences. Can Byzantine literature speak powerfully to these transhistorical traumas? How can we activate it to do so?

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