"I face a dark future". Letters from the Leprosy Archives, Bergen

  • Marie-Theres Federhofer University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway
Keywords: Patient letters, leprosy, leprosy politics in Norway, 19th century, narrative theory, small stories


The article focuses on patient letters sent by leprosy patients or their family members applying for place at a leprosy hospital. They were written between 1871 and 1911, are today part of the Leprosy Archives in Bergen and have not been presented, contextualised and analysed before. The article aims at both unveiling the illness experiences of those who suffered from the disease and demonstrating the way they recount their experiences in these letters. The concept of ‘small stories’ (M. Bamberg / A. Georgakopoulou) serves as entry points to access the narrative techniques in these autobiographic and biographic documents.

Author Biography

Marie-Theres Federhofer, University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway
Professor of German Culture and Literature at the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Educatin, UiT- The Arctic University of Norway