Author meets Critic: Aris Fioretos

Aris Fioretos (author, theorist and professor at Södertörn) in conversation with Christian Benne (University of Copenhagen) and Irina Hron (University of Gothenburg).

Aris Fioretos’ latest book, the monumental Atlas (2019) was published shortly before the pandemic seemed to change everything. It could not have come out at a more appropriate moment. We have since learned that health issues and the ethical and political questions surrounding them, cannot be understood from one perspective alone, be it a medical, political, sociological, or indeed philosophical one. In Atlas, Aris Fioretos uses literature – a very self-reflective and self-conscious form of literature – to examine the modern view of the human as it emerged from medical progress in the period around 1900. “Atlas” was the name given to the first cartographic depiction of the whole world by the Dutch cosmographer Gerardus Mercator. ‘Atlas’ shows how human health was mapped through medical journeys into the interior of the body. How did this and how does it continue to change the view we have of ourselves? Through his guest lecture and in the subsequent conversation about his book, we want to find out, why Aris Fioretos thinks that literature helps us to think more deeply about some of our most existential concerns.


Aris Fioretos (*1960), is one of Sweden’s most important writers, translators and essayists, translated into many languages. He is also Professor of Aesthetics at Södertörn. His work has been rewarded with numerous prizes, most recently the essay prize of the Swedish Academy and the German Order of Merit.

Christian Benne is the professor of European literature and intellectual history and co-leader of the research group “Thinking the European Republic of Letters” at CEMES.

Irina Hron is the Anna Ahrenberg Postdoctoral Fellow of Literature at the University of Gothenburg as well as a Lise Meitner Senior Research Fellow at the University of Vienna. She is a member of the research group “Thinking the European Republic of Letters” and is in the process of preparing a project in the medical humanities.