This project approaches four of E. L. Doctorow’s novels—Welcome to Hard Times (1960), The Book of Daniel (1971), Ragtime (1975), and City of God (2000)—from the perspectives of feminist criticism and trauma theory. The study springs from the assumption that Doctorow’s literary project is eminently ethical and has an underlying social and political scope. This crops up through the novels’ overriding concern with injustice and their engagement with the representation of human suffering in a variety of forms. The book puts forward the claim that E.L. Doctorow’s literary project—through its representation of psychological trauma and its attitude towards gender—may be understood as a call to action against both each individual’s indifference and the wider social and political structures and ideologies that justify and/or facilitate the injustices and oppression to which those who are situated at the margins of contemporary US society are subjected.

chapter |40 pages


chapter 1|31 pages

Welcome to Hard Times

The Frontier Reconsidered

chapter 2|34 pages

The Book of Daniel

A Memoir Gone Awry

chapter 3|38 pages


Remembering the Future

chapter 4|35 pages

City of God

With Eyes Past All Grief

chapter 5|19 pages


The Ethics and Politics of Literature

chapter |3 pages