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COVID-19 narratives and layered temporality
  1. Jessica Howell
  1. English, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jessica Howell, English, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA; jmhowell{at}


The essay outlines the ways in which narrative approaches to COVID-19 can draw on imaginative literature and critical oral history to resist the ‘closure’ often offered by cultural representations of epidemics. To support this goal, it analyses science and speculative fiction by Alejandro Morales and Tananarive Due in terms of how these works create alternative temporalities, which undermine colonial and racist medical discourse. The essay then examines a new archive of emerging autobiographical illness narratives, namely online Facebook posts and oral history samples by 'long COVID' survivors, for their alternate temporalities of illness.

  • COVID-19
  • history
  • literature and medicine
  • patient narratives
  • medical humanities

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  • Contributors JH is the sole author.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research. Refer to the 'Methods' section for further details.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.