Zsófia O. Réti, Senior Lecturer, Institute of English and American Studies, University of Debrecen, Hungary, teaches courses on contemporary British literature and culture and on video games; and does research in memory studies—mostly in relation to nostalgia and trauma, and popular culture. Her monograph, based on her dissertation on the contemporary cultural memory of Hungarian popular culture of the 1980s, Nekünk nyolcvan: Közelítések a nyolcvanas évek magyar kulturális emlékezetéhez (korabeli stratégiák, populáris mítoszok és ezek utóélete) [It’s All Eighty to Us: Approaching the Cultural Memory of the Hungarian 1980s (Contemporary Strategies, Popular Myths and Their Afterlives)] was published by Debrecen University Press in 2018. Her academic interests also include new media storytelling (especially video games) and contemporary popular culture. Among others, she published articles in Prae, Alföld, Vörös Postakocsi, Studia Litteraria, and Hungarian Historical Review. She was also the co-editor of The (Web)Sites of Memory: Cultural Heritage in the Digital Age.
The problem of sexual violence, including rape, domestic assault, sexual harassment, and molestation has recently become a topical issue both in public discourse and popular culture. The unspoken individual traumas have found their way to the world of TV series, such as HBO’s mini-series Big Little Lies. The essay explores the unique ways in which the television series treats sexuality and personal traumas. It argues that while by no means can it be regarded as a soap opera, Big Little Lies occasionally uses and rewrites the genre-specific codes of this traditionally low-prestige television genre intended for women to alter the representation of individual traumas in popular culture. The use of flashbacks and involuntary repetition as narrative elements along with the retrospective framework of a criminal investigation make the serial form much suited to examine individual traumas. The television series attempts the almost impossible: to speak of the trauma’s unspeakability, and simultaneously it seeks to maintain its high viewership. (ZsOR)