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Posts tagged ‘Pandemics’

Contents: Pandemics/Epidemics and Literature (Issue 57)

Contents: Pandemics/Epidemics and Literature (Issue 57)

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Contributors

Contributors

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Guest-Editorial: Epidemics/Pandemics and Literature

By Nishi Pulugurtha
This issue of Café Dissensus on Epidemics/Pandemics and Literature consists of essays that discuss the way pandemics/epidemics have been represented in literary texts and the way they feature in the narrative and/or influence it. Literature, to use a cliché, holds up a mirror to us. That is true of epidemics as well. Literature takes us beyond figures and statistics to reveal how the crises affect the lives of individuals. It also shows the similarity in human response over the centuries and across geographical spaces.

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The Wonder of Living and the Anxiety of Death

By Ranu Uniyal
Moments of happiness are few and far in Mrs Dalloway – the pleasure of buying flowers is juxtaposed with the precarity of the pain and anxiety of Septimus Smith. In To the Lighthouse, the joy and precision of a meal which is a coming together of different minds also conveys the uncertainty and ennui besieging Mrs Ramsay, while the guests are still at the dinner table.

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Pandemics: Insights from World Literature

By Sambhu Nath Banerjee
During the summer of 1665, Isaac Newton, in his early twenties, moved to his family farm of Woolsthorpe Manor, some sixty miles northwest of Cambridge in order to escape the plague that was ravaging London. Woolsthorpe provided the sort of serene environment that allowed the mind of Newton to begin his journey to the world of unhindered imagination.

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‘The Last Man’: Mary Shelley and her Defiance against Dystopia

By Sarottama Majumdar
In the novel The Last Man, the symbolic significance of the epidemic which first surfaced in Constantinople and whose devastation would finally conclude with the death of the eponymous last man in Rome, is not lost on readers.

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Reading Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Masque of the Red Death’

By Nishi Pulugurtha
Poe named his fictional disease ‘Red’ death, possibly to differentiate it from ‘Black’ death, another name by which the plague that wreaked havoc in the fourteenth century was known. It also brings in allusions to deaths that marked plagues and other epidemics that ravaged the world many times.

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The 1897 Bombay Plague in the writings of Pandita Ramabai

By Subarna Bhattacharya
Parts of Lambert's book were given to Ramabai’s account of her famine relief-services (which was almost at the same time as the plague), but there was a deliberate omission of the occasion when she was one of the colonial machinery’s fiercest critics.

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Reading Camus in the Time of Corona

By Ananya Dutta Gupta
Let me be perfectly unapologetic about my choice. Upon this, my second reading in less than a year and third since my long left behind young adulthood in reading, The Plague presents itself all over again as an unparallelled example of what fiction can do, not only with but for reality.

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‘The Plague’: A Pedagogy for Pandemic Times

By Sacaria Joseph
In his novel, The Plague, Camus attempts to provide a resolution to the paradox through the contrasting responses of two characters – Father Paneloux, a Jesuit priest who is the voice of organised religion and Dr. Bernard Rieux, a surgeon, humanist, and atheist who is the voice of science and rationality – to the plague that smote the coastal city of Oran in Algeria.

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Forgotten Difference: Translating Quarantine from Urdu

By Ishan Mehandru
This attention to geography is essential, not only because her writing falls into the genre of a travel memoir, but because a lot of epidemiological research is primarily concerned with ‘tracking’ the disease. Any reading of the plague becomes implicated in questions concerning space – where did the disease come from? How far has it gone? Who has carried it across borders, regions, and continents?

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Narratives of Suffering and ‘Risk’: Looking Back at Ahmed Ali’s ‘Twilight in Delhi’

By Sumantra Baral
Set against the background of the newly created capital of India, Delhi, Twilight in Delhi records the impact of the 1918 Influenza, popularly known as Bombay fever, in the life of old Delhi. This pandemic claimed over 50 million lives worldwide and about 10 to 20 million lives in India. ‘Twilight’, the key word in the title of the novel, not only suggests scenic beauty but also a kind of precarity.

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