Anna Chiari

Thesis title: Silent Trauma: The Case of Virginia Woolf and Marguerite Duras


Anna Chiari is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature. She holds a BA in English and French literatures and languages and a Joint Master's Degree in English and American Studies from Ca' Foscari University (Venice). Before moving to The University of Edinburgh, she specialized in Comparative Literature with an MA at UCL. 

Holding two MFAs in dramaturgy and screenwriting from IULM University (Milan) and Silvio D'Amico Academy of Dramatic Arts (Rome), she also works as a writer and a freelance journalist. 


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  • MFA in Dramaturgy - Silvio D'Amico Academy of Dramatic Arts (2021)
  • MFA in The Art of Storytelling - IULM University (2021)
  • MA in Comparative Literature - UCL (2018)
  • Joint Master's Degree in English and American Studies - Ca' Foscari University (2017)
  • BA in Foreign Languages and Literatures - Ca' Foscari University (2014)

Research summary

  • Trauma Studies
  • Modernism
  • Psychoanalysis 
  • Intermediality
  • Life Writing: Autofiction, Autotheory, and Autobiography
  • Gender Studies

Current research interests

Anna's doctoral research analyses and examines the role of silence and lacunae in representing traumatic memories, focusing on the works of Virginia Woolf and Marguerite Duras. Her analysis explores how the two female modernist writers reacted and responded to their own preoccupations with trauma and the difficulty of representing and speaking about it through literature. The study's guiding hypothesis is that trauma is not amnesic but is expressible in narratives where the shattering of the traumatic experiences takes the shape of blanks, silences, and pervasive absence.

Project activity

  • Workshop  SGSSS Spring into Methods: ‘Doing Feminist Research,’ the University of Edinburgh, 04-06 May 2022.

Past project grants

Go Abroad Fund (2022), University of Edinburgh (UK).

Overseas Scholarship (2016), Ca' Foscari University, Venice (IT).

Erasmus Scholarship (2015), Ca' Foscari University, Venice (IT).


(UPCOMING) Conference Panel Chair for NeMLA 55th Annual Convention, Seminar 'Saying the Unsayable: Narrative Experimentation in the Representation of Trauma', University of Boston, 5-10 March 2024.

Papers delivered

(UPCOMING) 'Synaesthetic Representation of Trauma in Mrs Dalloway.' 55th Northeast Modern Languages Association Convention (Saying the Unsayable), Tufts University, US, March 2024. 

'Gendered Trauma in Marguerite Duras'.' Women in French UK-Ireland Biennial Conference – Femmes et/en crises,  Leeds (UK), 26-28 May 2023.

'Virginia Woolf's Visual Aesthetic of Trauma.' 54th Northeast Modern Languages Association Convention (Moving in with Trauma), Niagara Falls (NY), US, March 2023. 

'Mirror Neurons and Our Experience of Literature.' 51st Annual Comparative Literature Conference, Long Beach (CA), US, April 2016.


(UPCOMING) ‘Uncanny Absence in Gothic Fiction.’ Book, The Edwin Mellen Press (US).


(UPCOMING) ‘Gendered Trauma in Marguerite Duras.’ Chapter for Women and/in Crisis, Liverpool University Press (UK). 


(UPCOMING) ‘Synaesthetic Representation of Trauma in Mrs Dalloway.’ Chapter for Moving in with Trauma, Vernon Press (US).

Stage Doctoral under the supervision of Professor Emmanuel Bouju, Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris (FR), Oct - June 2023.