Interview with Anna Stern – “the beginning of the year, we made jokes in the laboratory,”Anna Stern is a writer and researcher at ETH to diseases. A pandemic-the novel has stopped. He was too close to reality.Linus Schöpfer0 Comment is currently writing the fourth novel and her doctoral thesis: Anna Stern.Photo: Doris Fanconi

were you expecting the pandemic?

Scientifically was seen to predict that such a pandemic will happen at some point. All the more surprising how poorly we were prepared for it. I can still remember the first messages to Corona. The beginning of the year, we made jokes in the laboratory. “Have you made a vacation in China?” Hoho. We took the matter really seriously.

when was this changed?

I remember exactly the Moment when a few weeks later, in a meeting, one of the professors said, gradually, he is Worried because of this Virus. This took my breath away, was a double shock. Because of this trust – “someone knows, how do we get out of here” – suddenly was gone, as the Professor admitted openly that he knew how the pandemic would develop so baffled I had never seen him. A honesty, without which science, incidentally, may not work.

pandemics fascinate you, however, already longer.

Me infectious diseases, therefore, my doctoral fascinate at the ETH. The idea that there is naked eye visible and non-visible beings, who are built so much simpler than us and yet such a Power over us that they can all self-evident facts of everyday life a thing of the past – which I find extremely exciting.

How do they look as Bacteriologist to the Coronavirus?

My special field of antibiotic resistance. And there is the risk that, due to a mass use of antibiotics and disinfectants, such as we are experiencing a new resistance can form is, unfortunately.

How are you personally affected by the pandemic?

At the professorship for pathogen ecology, we are currently investigating more to bacteria than to viruses. ETH sent us, therefore, at the beginning of March to the home office. We rented the hospitals in our laboratory equipment and test reagents and registered from home for the Canton of Zurich, the case numbers. As a writer I wrote a Text for the Pop-up magazine “fabric for the Shutdown” and gave a novel about a pandemic.

Power resources for Corona research: The ETH. (7. April 2020)photo: Keystone

A novel about Corona in front of the Corona?

A Corona novel, it would not become. But I actually had a novel in my head, in which there is a pandemic going around the world, the life-changing the fundamental. The idea was that a Virus makes most people infertile, what a hunt for the last Fertile begins. This level is, however, only in the mind of the protagonist. On the second level, we find ourselves with the protagonist in psychiatry, what a Doctor takes an interest in her, she observed, and, increasingly, the feeling for the boundaries of the doctor-patient relationship loses relationship… I had applied with a novel sketch already for some scholarships, ‘ve cancelled the project now. It just doesn’t feel right. The real pandemic for us at the moment to strong.

But it is just a kind of Corona-literature. So many Writer lead, and writers diary.

The direct rendering of personal feeling does not seem to me to be really interesting. I’m not curious about these diaries, because we employ all of us the whole time with Corona. I want to explore with texts the Unknown, as a reader and as a writer. Well, for the diary of Peter stem I should make an exception, I’m looking at later times.

what is a really good pandemic literature?

I recently read the great Cromwell novels of Hilary mantel. Since this mysterious illness, the English sweat comes up again and again. An infectious disease, to the Affected within a few hours, died and about whose origin we know almost nothing.

Reminded of a lost, mysterious disease: author Hilary mantel. (16. October 2012)photo: Keystone

What does it mean when people now read en masse Camus’ “the plague”?

The book is a comfort, because it breaks us out of our Chrono – centrism-of the idea that we lived in a particularly dangerous or dramatic times. On the other hand, the book can also frustrate. Because we realize how little the person was previously capable of actually learning all the time.

What we learn can of Corona?

Perhaps the insight, that we are not in fact the crown of creation. And, unfortunately, that man is a very sluggish creature who can’t prepare apparently really, even for obvious dangers. He on the other hand can also react very quickly when a crisis only occurred once. Maybe we can in the climate crisis now, too. Or we can at least see that it is also without the fly quite well. I hope I’m not alone in this.

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