Areas of expertise
Avril Tynan is a postdoctoral researcher in comparative literature at the University of Turku and the SELMA Centre for the Study of Storytelling, Experientiality and Memory. She is currently finishing a monograph project on the forms and functions of forgetting in French fiction at the KWI, Essen (Germany).
Tynan has published widely on representations of dementia, ageing, memory and death in francophone and anglophone literatures, including in Storyworlds, Narrative Works and the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies. She has also contributed articles on philosophical approaches to recovery, epidemics and gardening to Synapsis: A Health Humanities Journal, The Polyphony, and the British Medical Journal’s blog.
She is convenor of the SELMA Medical Humanities Seminar Series and co-editor of Storyworlds: A Journal of Narrative Studies.
At Royal Holloway, University of London I taught French language and culture to undergraduate students and public audiences from 2012-2018.
At the University of Turku, I have taught and co-taught a number of courses for students of comparative literature, including Holocaust literature, narratives of mental (ill)health, and narratives of illness.
My research draws on hermeneutic and interpretative approaches to literature to show how experiences of illness, ageing and death may be represented and understood through narrative. Above all, I interrogate the interrelations between form and function in the representation of memory problems, including the ethical and epistemological challenges raised by representation of traumas and dementias. In my recent research, I challenge dichotomous approaches to narrativity and non-narrativity, and to illness and health to analyse the sociocultural interpretations of diagnosis, disease and recovery.