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p. 1137. The lessons of historieslocked

  • Paul Slack

Abstract

‘The lessons of histories’ explains how narratives about plague, whether histories or novels, contemporary chronicles or reports to governments, all focus on the same issues: the dilemmas faced by individuals; attempts at control; and the ways of imagining plagues which offered or denied the prospect of salvation. The horrific symptoms of plague, together with high mortality and high risks of infection, meant that it caused shock, anxiety, and insecurity. Images of plague have been borrowed and applied to new or ‘re-emerging’ diseases which seem nowadays to threaten pandemic disasters, for example new strains of influenza.

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