Course Description

ONLINE: As the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us, mass-scale disease and death have always been part of the history of humanity. However, in the last half century, the apocalyptic imagination has increasingly turned to our shared legacy of plague and contagion to shape narratives that attempt to make sense of the world and the people who inhabit it. To better understand this cultural development, students will read four recent novels, all published since 2000, that in different ways imagine a world defined and consumed by some sort of pandemic: Margaret Atwood’s “Oryx and Crake” (2003), Emily St. John Mandel’s “Station Eleven” (2014), Maggie O’Farrell’s “Hamnet” (2020), and Gary Shteyngart’s “Our Country Friends” (2021). While some attention will be paid to scientific, historical, and literary contexts, the questions of why and how an ever-growing number of contemporary writers are tackling the theme of plague will underlie class discussions. | Facilitated discussion.
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Section Title
The Literature of Plague II: 21st-Century Visions of Disease and Death
Online - Zoom
9:00AM to 10:15AM
Jan 24, 2022 to Mar 28, 2022
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Virtual Classroom  
Course Fees
Section Notes

Required reading:

Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake (9780385721677)

Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven (9780804172448)

Maggie O'Farrell, Hamnet (9781984898876)

Gary Shteyngart, Our Country Friends (9781984855121)