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Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine (IBME)

Anna Magdalena Elsner is awarded a SNF Marie Heim-Vögtlin grant held at the Romanische Seminar and the IBME

In the research project entitled "Palliative Pages: Inscribing Mortality into French Literature and Theory since 1950", Anna seeks to contextualize the meaning of ‘palliative’ by proposing that the term’s dual grounding in the humanities and medicine allows us to gain a more nuanced understanding of modern palliative care and its philosophical assumptions about what constitutes a ‘good death’.

The project analyses the ways in which twenty-first century and contemporary French narratives about illness and dying debate concepts associated with palliative care, such as pain control, care instead of cure, the integration of family, an individually defined quality of life and the spiritual and psychological accompaniment of the patient. It also more generally questions whether and by what means self- reflective writing constitutes a ‘palliative’ practice or, on the contrary, leads to a subversion of the ‘palliative’ in writing conceived to produce mental and physical distress.