The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted both the importance of care and a global crisis in care. Since its beginnings in the US in the 1980s as a feminist theory within virtue ethics, care ethics has emerged from the margins of the domestic sphere in the West to become a species theory and a force for radical societal change. Influenced by Joan Tronto’s work, Alexandre Gefen has integrated the approach into literary studies in France as an interventionist reading strategy, offering therapeutic benefits to the reader as well. In a new intersectional approach, I argue that reading literature through a care ethics model can improve lives. I compare literary testimonies on either side of the patient/carer divide, Annie Ernaux’s pre-Covid-19 care home narrative and Michael Rosen’s Covid-19 patient testimony, which, read together, expand the field of medical humanities to promote a relational reconception of society over individualist neoliberalism.


This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Cite as

Tribout-Joseph, S. 2023, 'Care narratives by Annie Ernaux and Michael Rosen in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic', Forum for Modern Language Studies, article no: cqad017. https://doi.org/10.1093/fmls/cqad017

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Last updated: 30 March 2023
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