A History of the Most Catastrophic Plague Through Contemporary Accounts and How Humans Reacted
Hailed by the New York Times as "unusually interesting both as history and sociological study," The Black Death: A Chronicle of the Plague traces the ebb and flow of European pandemics over the course of centuries through translations of contemporary accounts. Originally published in 1926 and now in paperback for the first time, Nohl's volume is unique for its geographical and historical scope as well as its combination of detailed accounts and overarching contemporary views of the history of the plague in Europe, a disease that claimed nearly 40 million people during the fourteenth century alone. With current concerns about pandemics, The Black Death provides lessons on how humans reacted to and survived catastrophic loss of life to disease.
1. The Aspect of the Plague
2. The Precursors of the Plague
3. The Medical Profession and the Plague
4. Plague Remedies
5. Administrative Precautions
6. Attitude of the Church
7. The Diabolical Element of the Plague
8. Persecutions of the Jews
9. The Erotic Element of the Plague
10. The Flagellants
11. Choreomania and Children's Pilgrimages
12. Life Victorious
Index of Persons
Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward campaign organized millions of Chinese peasants into communes in a misguided attempt to rapidly collectivize agriculture with disastrous effects. Catastrophic famine lingered as the global cholera pandemic of the early 1960s spread rampantly through the infected waters of southeastern coastal China. Confronted with a political crisis and the seventh global cholera pandemic in recorded history, the communist government committed to social restructuring in order to affirm its legitimacy and prevent transmission of the disease. Focusing on the Wenzhou Prefecture in Zhejiang Province, the area most seriously stricken by cholera at the time, Xiaoping Fang demonstrates how China’s pandemic was far more than a health incident; it became a significant social and political influence during a dramatic transition for the People’s Republic.
China and the Cholera Pandemic reveals how disease control and prevention, executed through the government’s large-scale, clandestine anticholera campaign, were integral components of its restructuring initiatives, aimed at restoring social order. The subsequent rise of an emergency disciplinary health state furthered these aims through quarantine and isolation, which profoundly impacted the social epidemiology of the region, dividing Chinese society and reinforcing hierarchies according to place, gender, and socioeconomic status.
The plague first arrived in the English port of Weymouth in the summer of 1348. Two years later, half of Britain was dead, but the Black Death was just beginning. In the decades to come, England would suffer recurring outbreaks, social and cultural upheaval, and violent demographic shifts. The pandemic was, by any measure, a massive cultural trauma; however, within the vernacular English literature of the fourteenth century, the response to the disease appears muted, particularly compared to contemporaneous descriptions emerging from mainland Europe. Death and the Pearl Maiden: Plague, Poetry, England asks why one of the singular historical traumas of the later Middle Ages appears to be evoked so fleetingly in fourteenth-century Middle English poetry, a body of work as daring and socially engaged as any in English literary history. By focusing on under-recognized pestilential discourses in Pearl, Cleanness, Patience, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight—the four poems uniquely preserved British Library MS Cotton Nero A.x —this study resists the idea that the Black Death had only a slight impact on medieval English literature, and it strives to account for the understated shape of England’s literary response to the plague and our contemporary understandings of it.
From the late nineteenth century until the 1920s, authorities required San Francisco's Pesthouse to segregate the diseased from the rest of the city. Although the Pesthouse stood out of sight and largely out of mind, it existed at a vital nexus of civic life where issues of medicine, race, class, environment, morality, and citizenship entwined and played out. Guenter B. Risse places this forgotten institution within an emotional climate dominated by widespread public dread and disgust. In Driven by Fear, he analyzes the unique form of stigma generated by San Franciscans. Emotional states like xenophobia and racism played a part. Yet the phenomenon also included competing medical paradigms and unique economic needs that encouraged authorities to protect the city's reputation as a haven of health restoration. As Risse argues, public health history requires an understanding of irrational as well as rational motives. To that end he delves into the spectrum of emotions that drove extreme measures like segregation and isolation and fed psychological, ideological, and pragmatic urges to scapegoat and stereotype victims--particularly Chinese victims--of smallpox, leprosy, plague, and syphilis.
Filling a significant gap in contemporary scholarship, Driven by Fear looks at the past to offer critical lessons for our age of bioterror threats and emerging infectious diseases.
After the great pandemic of 1348, the plague became endemic in Europe, affecting life at every level for more than three hundred years. In attempting to fight the dread enemy, the North Italian states had developed, by the early sixteenth century, a highly sophisticated system of public health. Special permanent magistracies combining legislative and executive powers were established to administer all public health matters.
In this volume, Carlo M. Cipolla throws new light on the subject, utilizing newly uncovered and significant archival material.
In the first essay, the author analyzes the complex set of interrelationships that existed between theory and practice in Renaissance epidemiology. The significance of this essay goes beyond the history of public health and extends to the larger history of science.
In the second essay, Cipolla studies a case in which health matters became the object of intense diplomatic activity. In that instance, fully sovereign states envisaged interstate controls and relinquished discretionary powers for the sake of the “common health.” Although the concerted effort was short-lived, it does represent an attempt at international health cooperation that was unmatched for another two centuries, until the first International Sanitary Conference, held in Paris in 1851.
In the third essay, unusually detailed statistical documentation allows the author to analyze in detail the demographic, economic, and social aspects of the fight against the plague in a Tuscan city—Pistoia—during the epidemic of 1630–31.
A richly documented appendix, forming an essay in itself, illustrates present knowledge of the clinical, pathological, and epidemiological features of the plague in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Europe.
A fable-like tale of a small community afflicted by a mysterious plague
Juxtaposing barbarity and whimsy, Brian Conn’s The Fixed Stars is a novel that has the tenor of a contemporary fable with nearly the same dreamlike logic.
At the novel’s heart are the John’s Day celebration and the interactions of a small community dealing with a mystery disease. Routinely citizens are quarantined and then reintegrated into society in rituals marked by a haunting brutality. The infected and the healthy alike are quarantined. In a culture that has retreated from urbanism into a more pastoral society, the woman who nurtures spiders and the man who spins hemp exist alongside the mass acceptance of sexual promiscuity. Conn delivers a compelling portrait of a calamitous era, one tormented by pestilence, disease, violence, and post–late capitalism. An unflinching look at a world impossible to situate in time, The Fixed Stars is mythic and darkly magical.
"I am still living on London Bridge myself. The world of this novel has merged with my life. Under Madden's pen, the web of human connection is woven over water, through space, and beyond time." —Allen Wier, author of Tehano
For more than two thousand years, Old London Bridge evolved through many fragile wooden forms until it became the first bridge built of stone since the Roman invaders. With over two hundred houses and shops built directly upon the bridge, it was a wonder of the world until it was dismantled in 1832.
In this stunningly original novel, Old London Bridge is as much a living, breathing character as its architect, the priest Peter de Colechurch, who began work on it in 1176, partly to honor Archbishop Thomas à Becket, murdered in Canterbury Cathedral. In 1665, the year of the Great Plague, Peter’s history is unknown, but Daryl Braintree, a young poet living on the bridge, resurrects him through inspired flights of imagination. As Daryl chronicles the history of the bridge and composes poems about it, he reads his work to his witty mistress, who prefers making love.
Among other key characters is Lucien Redd, who as a boy was sexually brutalized by both Puritans and Cavaliers during the English Civil War before being kidnapped off London Bridge onto a merchant ship. Thus traumatized, he aspires to become Lucifer’s most evil disciple. Twenty years later, young Morgan Wood is forced into seafaring service to pay off his father’s debts; and, compelled by obsessive nostalgia for his early life on the bridge, he keeps a journal. Joining Morgan aboard ship, Lucien “befriends” him—to devastating effect.
The shops and houses on the bridge survive both the Great Plague and Great Fire, believed to be God’s wrath upon sinful London. Fearing that God may next destroy the bridge and its eight hundred denizens, seven of its merchant leaders revert to a pagan appeasement ritual by selecting one of their virgin daughters for sacrifice. To enact their plan, they hire Lucien, who has returned to the bridge to burn it out of pure meanness. But as Lucien discovers, the chosen victim may be more Lucifer’s favorite than he is.
Like his creation Daryl Braintree, David Madden employs diverse innovative ways to tell this complex, often shocking, but also lyrical story. The author of ten novels—including The Suicide’s Wife, Bijou, and most recently, Abducted by Circumstance and Sharpshooter—Madden has, with London Bridge in Plague and Fire, given us the most ambitious and imaginative work of his distinguished career.
"I am still living on London Bridge myself. The world of this novel has merged with my life. Under Madden's pen, the web of human connection is woven over water, through space, and beyond time." —Allen Wier, author of Tehano
For more than two thousand years, Old London Bridge evolved through many fragile wooden forms until it became the first bridge built of stone since the Roman invaders. With over two hundred houses and shops built directly upon the bridge, it was a wonder of the world until it was dismantled in 1832. In this stunningly original novel, Old London Bridge is as much a living, breathing character as its architect, the priest Peter de Colechurch, who began work on it in 1176, partly to honor Archbishop Thomas à Becket, murdered in Canterbury Cathedral. In 1665, the year of the Great Plague, Peter’s history is unknown, but Daryl Braintree, a young poet living on the bridge, resurrects him through inspired flights of imagination. As Daryl chronicles the history of the bridge and composes poems about it, he reads his work to his witty mistress, who prefers making love. Among other key characters is Lucien Redd, who as a boy was sexually brutalized by both Puritans and Cavaliers during the English Civil War before being kidnapped off London Bridge onto a merchant ship. Thus traumatized, he aspires to become Lucifer’s most evil disciple. Twenty years later, young Morgan Wood is forced into seafaring service to pay off his father’s debts; and, compelled by obsessive nostalgia for his early life on the bridge, he keeps a journal. Joining Morgan aboard ship, Lucien “befriends” him—to devastating effect. The shops and houses on the bridge survive both the Great Plague and Great Fire, believed to be God’s wrath upon sinful London. Fearing that God may next destroy the bridge and its eight hundred denizens, seven of its merchant leaders revert to a pagan appeasement ritual by selecting one of their virgin daughters for sacrifice. To enact their plan, they hire Lucien, who has returned to the bridge to burn it out of pure meanness. But as Lucien discovers, the chosen victim may be more Lucifer’s favorite than he is. Like his creation Daryl Braintree, David Madden employs diverse innovative ways to tell this complex, often shocking, but also lyrical story. The author of ten novels—including The Suicide’s Wife, Bijou, and most recently, Abducted by Circumstance and Sharpshooter—Madden has, with London Bridge in Plague and Fire, given us the most ambitious and imaginative work of his distinguished career.
As a pandemic swept across fourteenth-century Europe, the Decameron offered the ill and grieving a symphony of life and love.
For Florentines, the world seemed to be coming to an end. In 1348 the first wave of the Black Death swept across the Italian city, reducing its population from more than 100,000 to less than 40,000. The disease would eventually kill at least half of the population of Europe. Amid the devastation, Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron was born. One of the masterpieces of world literature, the Decameron has captivated centuries of readers with its vivid tales of love, loyalty, betrayal, and sex. Despite the death that overwhelmed Florence, Boccaccio’s collection of novelle was, in Guido Ruggiero’s words, a “symphony of life.”
Love and Sex in the Time of Plague guides twenty-first-century readers back to Boccaccio’s world to recapture how his work sounded to fourteenth-century ears. Through insightful discussions of the Decameron’s cherished stories and deep portraits of Florentine culture, Ruggiero explores love and sexual relations in a society undergoing convulsive change. In the century before the plague arrived, Florence had become one of the richest and most powerful cities in Europe. With the medieval nobility in decline, a new polity was emerging, driven by Il Popolo—the people, fractious and enterprising. Boccaccio’s stories had a special resonance in this age of upheaval, as Florentines sought new notions of truth and virtue to meet both the despair and the possibility of the moment.
This ground-breaking book brings together scholars from the humanities and social and physical sciences to address the question of how recent work in the genetics, zoology, and epidemiology of plague's causative organism (Yersinia pestis) can allow a rethinking of the Black Death pandemic and its larger historical significance.
The theater of early modern England was a disastrous affair. The scant record of its performance demonstrates as much, for what we tend to remember today of the Shakespearean stage and its history are landmark moments of dissolution: the burning down of the Globe, the forced closure of playhouses during outbreaks of the plague, and the abolition of the theater by its Cromwellian opponents.
Persecution, Plague, and Fire is a study of these catastrophes and the theory of performance they convey. Ellen MacKay argues that the various disasters that afflicted the English theater during its golden age were no accident but the promised end of a practice built on disappearance and erasure—a kind of fatal performance that left nothing behind but its self-effacing poetics. Bringing together dramatic theory, performance studies, and theatrical, religious, and cultural history, MacKay reveals the period’s radical take on the history and the future of the stage to show just how critical the relation was between early modern English theater and its public.
This book discusses diseases that affected human and non-human populations in areas stretching from the Red Sea and Egypt to Anatolia, the Balkans, and the Black Sea, in the early modern and modern eras. It tackles various questions of historiography and sources, tests new interdisciplinary methodologies, and asks new questions while revisiting older ones. It contributes to Ottoman studies, the history of medicine, Mediterranean and European history, as well as global studies on the role of epidemics in history.
Plague and Pleasure is a lively popular history that introduces a new hypothesis about the impetus behind the cultural change in Renaissance Italy. The Renaissance coincided with a period of chronic, constantly recurring plague, unremitting warfare and pervasive insecurity. Consequently, people felt a need for mental escape to alternative, idealized realities, distant in time or space from the unendurable present but made vivid to the imagination through literature, art, and spectacle.
Since recording its first AIDS cases in 1983, Tanzania has reported nearly 90,000 more to the World Health Organization—more than any other country in Africa. As AIDS spread, the devastating syndrome came to be known simply as ugonjwa huo: "that disease."
The AIDS epidemic has forced Africans to reflect upon the meaning of traditional ideas and practices related to sexuality and fertility, and upon modernity and biomedicine. In A Plague of Paradoxes, anthropologist Philip Setel observes Tanzania's Chagga people and their attempts to cope with and understand AIDS—the latest in a series of crises over which they feel they have little, if any, control.
Timely and well-researched, A Plague of Paradoxes is an extended case study of the most serious epidemic of the twentieth century and the cultural circumstances out of which it emerged. It is a unique book that brings together anthropology, demography, and epidemiology to explain how a particular community in Africa experiences AIDS.
The human love of novelty and desire to make one place look like another, coupled with massive increases in global trade and transport, are creating a growing economic and ecological threat. The same forces that are rapidly "McDonaldizing" the world's diverse cultures are also driving us toward an era of monotonous, weedy, and uniformly impoverished landscapes. Unique plant and animal communities are slowly succumbing to the world's "rats and rubbervines" -- animals like zebra mussels and feral pigs, and plants like kudzu and water hyacinth -- that, once moved into new territory, can disrupt human enterprise and well-being as well as native habitats and biodiversity.
From songbird-eating snakes in Guam to cheatgrass in the Great Plains, "invasives" are wreaking havoc around the world. In A Plague of Rats and Rubbervines, widely published science writer Yvonne Baskin draws on extensive research to provide an engaging and authoritative overview of the problem of harmful invasive alien species. She takes the reader on a worldwide tour of grasslands, gardens, waterways, and forests, describing the troubles caused by exotic organisms that run amok in new settings and examining how commerce and travel on an increasingly connected planet are exacerbating this oldest of human-created problems. She offers examples of potential solutions and profiles dedicated individuals worldwide who are working tirelessly to protect the places and creatures they love.
While our attention is quick to focus on purposeful attempts to disrupt our lives and economies by releasing harmful biological agents, we often ignore equally serious but much more insidious threats, those that we inadvertently cause by our own seemingly harmless actions. A Plague of Rats and Rubbervines takes a compelling look at this underappreciated problem and sets forth positive suggestions for what we as consumers, gardeners, travelers, nurserymen, fishermen, pet owners, business people -- indeed all of us who by our very local choices drive global commerce -- can do to help. "
A frightening new plague. A medical mystery. A pioneering immunologist. In A Plague on All Our Houses, Dr. Bruce J. Hillman dissects the war of egos, money, academic power, and Hollywood clout that advanced AIDS research even as it compromised the career of the scientist who discovered the disease. At the beginning of the worldwide epidemic soon to be known as AIDS, Dr. Michael Gottlieb was a young immunologist new to the faculty of UCLA Medical Center. In 1981 he was brought in to consult on a battery of unusual cases: four formerly healthy gay men presenting with persistent fever, weight loss, and highly unusual infections. Other physicians around the country had noted similar clusters of symptoms, but it was Gottlieb who first realized that these patients had a new and deadly disease. He also identified the defect in their immune system that allowed the disease to flourish. He published his findings in a now-iconic lead article in the New England Journal of Medicine—an impressive achievement for such a young scientist—and quickly became the focal point of a whirlwind of panic, envy, desperation, and distrust that played out against a glittering Hollywood backdrop. Courted by the media, the gay community, and the entertainment industry, Gottlieb emerged as the medical face of the terrifying new epidemic when he became personal physician to Rock Hudson, the first celebrity AIDS patient. With Elizabeth Taylor he cofounded the charitable foundation amfAR, which advanced public awareness of AIDS and raised vast sums for research, even as it struggled against political resistance that began with the Reagan administration and trickled down through sedimentary layers of bureaucracy. Far from supporting him, the UCLA medical establishment reacted with dismay to Gottlieb’s early work on AIDS, believing it would tarnish the reputation of the Medical Center. Denied promotion and tenure in 1987, Gottlieb left UCLA for private practice just as the National Institutes of Health awarded the institution a $10 million grant for work he had pioneered there. In the thirty-five years since the discovery of AIDS, research, prevention, and clinical care have advanced to the point that the disease is no longer the death sentence it once was. Gottlieb’s seminal article is now regarded by the New England Journal of Medicine as one of the most significant publications of its two-hundred-year history. A Plague on All Our Houses offers a ringside seat to one of the most important medical discoveries and controversies of our time.
During the seventeenth century, England was beset by three epidemics of the bubonic plague, each outbreak claiming between a quarter and a third of the population of London and other urban centers. Surveying a wide range of responses to these epidemics—sermons, medical tracts, pious exhortations, satirical pamphlets, and political commentary—Plague Writing in Early Modern England brings to life the many and complex ways Londoners made sense of such unspeakable devastation.
Ernest B. Gilman argues that the plague writing of the period attempted unsuccessfully to rationalize the catastrophic and that its failure to account for the plague as an instrument of divine justice fundamentally threatened the core of Christian belief. Gilman also trains his critical eye on the works of Jonson, Donne, Pepys, and Defoe, which, he posits, can be more fully understood when put into the context of this century-long project to “write out” the plague. Ultimately, Plague Writing in Early Modern England is more than a compendium of artifacts of a bygone era; it holds up a distant mirror to reflect our own condition in the age of AIDS, super viruses, multidrug resistant tuberculosis, and the hovering threat of a global flu pandemic.