8 March 2018

How does illness fit into culture beyond the world of medicine? On 6 March 2018, in an episode of “Plus on est de fous, plus on lit!” (French only) produced by Radio-Canada, 2017 Foundation scholar Benjamin Gagnon Chainey explained the "medico-literary" approach of his doctoral project. The language of literature is less regulated than that of law or science – for him, this gives literature the freedom to express aspects of the human experience that would otherwise go unspoken in the medical world. As an example, he quoted the work of Hervé Guibert, an AIDS patient and writer who turned the caregiving relationship’s traditional hierarchy upside down by revealing the caregiver’s suffering.

Benjamin Gagnon Chainey is a 2017 Foundation scholar and a doctoral candidate in French-language literature at Université de Montréal and Université Paris 7. Listen to the episode here (Benjamin Gagnon Chainey’s interventions at 2:23 p.m., from 0:00 to 8:30). 

Benjamin Gagnon Chainey

Benjamin Gagnon Chainey (French-language literature, Université de Montréal and Nottingham Trent University, UK) analyses the evolution of empathy and the patient-caregiver relationship through literary writings touching on AIDS and medical practices, starting at the end of the 19th century.

2017 Scholars