Plague Narratives: the Rhetoric of Catastrophe
This course will investigate the representation of catastrophe by examining narratives of the plague pandemics, which collectively killed more than 200 million people. The goal will be to understand the strategies writers use to inform people of catastrophic risk — and specifically why those strategies succeed (or fail) to inspire action. Readings will include selections from Procopius’s History of the Wars, Boccaccio’s The Decameron, Hodges’ Loimologia, Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year, and other lesser-known accounts.
Note: Download the document below for a list of class readings.