Representation of Trauma as a Political Apparatus in Julian Barnes's the Noise of Time

TitleRepresentation of Trauma as a Political Apparatus in Julian Barnes's the Noise of Time
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsNayebpour, K
JournalThe IUP Journal of English Studies
Start Page7
Date Published12/2017
Type of ArticleResearch
KeywordsJulian Barnes, Power, Psychological Trauma, The Noise of Time, Trauma as a Political Apparatus, Traumatic Experiences and Memory

This essay explores the function of trauma as a political apparatus in Julian Barnes’s latest novel The Noise of Time (2016). Focusing on the artistic life of worldly, well-known Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, Barnes’s narrative shows how trauma, as a dominant political apparatus, is systematically implemented by Stalin’s State of Terror or Power and how it dramatically impacts the psychological state of an artist. By presenting three stages of the central character’s traumatic experiences, the omniscient narrator represents trauma’s continuous impact on Shostakovich’s mind through his own retrospective perspective. The narrative focuses on Shostakovich’s constant sense of fear and intense panic at three decisive points of life when he finds himself in humiliating conversations with Power. The narrative presents the manner in which Shostakovich’s mind is possessed by the horrors, fears, and anxieties of both his traumatic experiences and post-traumatic recollections.


About us

ENN is the European Narratology Network, an association of individual narratologists and narratological institutions. ENN aims to foster the study of narrative representation in literature, film, digital media, etc. across all European languages and cultures.