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Romanisches Seminar

Anna’s research interests are located at the intersection of French twentieth-century literature and medicine, with a particular focus on the doctor-patient encounter, illness narratives and narrative ethics. Her current research project, entitled ‘Palliative Pages: Inscribing Mortality into French Literature and Theory since 1950’ is supported by a Marie Heim-Vögtlin grant of the Swiss National Science Foundation. In this project, she seeks to contextualize the meaning of ‘palliative’ within French literature and theory from the 1950s onwards. The project aims to contribute to the field of the Medical Humanities - and makes a case for the important role French literature has to play within it. It also proposes to substantiate the philosophy of palliative care with its literary representations, and thereby hopes to trigger a discussion on how to generate more meaningful and humane outcomes in end-of-life care.


Profile: Anna Magdalena Elsner holds a BA in Philosophy and French from St Hilda’s College, Oxford University and a MPhil in European Literature and Culture from Darwin College, Cambridge University. She received her PhD, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in 2011, also from Cambridge University. Subsequently, she was the Joanna Randall McIver Junior Research Fellow at St Hugh’s College, Oxford University. Before joining the Center for Medical Humanities at the University of Zurich in 2016, she worked at King’s College London, first as a Swiss National Science Foundation Prospective Researcher and then as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. In 2017, she was a fellow at the Yale-Hastings Program in Ethics and Health Policy.