Australian Journal of French Studies

Extending the Domain of Care in Philippe Forest

Australian Journal of French Studies (2020), 57, (3), 352–364.

Abstract

This article explores the connection between care and loss in Philippe Forest’s work by drawing on the etymological origins of care and on contemporary French writing on the ethics of care. On the one hand, care in Forest comes to stand for the technical taking care of a patient in the medical setting as well as for caring for and about his dying child specifically. On the other hand, the practice of writing about the loss of his daughter turns into a form of long-term caring for both his dead daughter and her surviving father. This continued attention to a relationship built around loss is, according to Forest, missing in practices of medical care supposedly meant to acknowledge death. The article argues that engaging with loss is key to the practice of care, even if, as Forest’s more recent work shows, this engagement also entails documenting a gradual forgetting of the dead.

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Author details

ELSNER, ANNA MAGDALENA