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The Long or the Post of It? Temporality, Suffering, and Uncertainty in Narratives Following COVID-19

Cheston, Katharine; Cenedese, Marta-Laura; Woods, Angela

The Long or the Post of It? Temporality, Suffering, and Uncertainty in Narratives Following COVID-19 Thumbnail


Marta-Laura Cenedese


Long COVID affects millions of individuals worldwide but remains poorly understood and contested. This article turns to accounts of patients' experiences to ask: What might narrative be doing both to long COVID and for those who live with the condition? What particular narrative strategies were present in 2020, as millions of people became ill, en masse, with a novel virus, which have prevailed three years after the first lockdowns? And what can this tell us about illness and narrative and about the importance of literary critical approaches to the topic in a digital, post-pandemic age? Through a close reading of journalist Lucy Adams's autobiographical accounts of long COVID, this article explores the interplay between individual illness narratives and the collective narrativizing (or making) of an illness. Our focus on temporality and suffering knits together the phenomenological and the social with the aim of opening up Adams's narrative and ascertaining a deeper understanding of what it means to live with the condition. Finally, we look to the stories currently circulating around long COVID and consider how illness narratives-and open, curious, patient-centered approaches to them-might shape medicine, patient involvement, and critical medical humanities research.


Cheston, K., Cenedese, M., & Woods, A. (2023). The Long or the Post of It? Temporality, Suffering, and Uncertainty in Narratives Following COVID-19. Journal of Medical Humanities,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 18, 2023
Online Publication Date Nov 14, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Nov 14, 2023
Publicly Available Date Nov 15, 2023
Journal Journal of Medical Humanities
Print ISSN 1041-3545
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
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Published Journal Article (Advance Online Version) (672 Kb)


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