How “The Plague” infects the modern political mood

(K. Brent Tomer),

AMID growing jingoism and populist revolt, literature from the so-called “midnight of the century” is being celebrated anew. Between 1930 and 1950—as imperialism, fascism and Stalinism collided across the world—nightmares were violently redefined as writers witnessed the greatest war, the greatest crimes, and eventually, the use of the greatest weapon in human history. Dystopian novels such as “It Can’t Happen Here” (1935) by Sinclair Lewis and “1984” (1949) by George Orwell are back in vogue as readers search for parallels with the past and clues for what to do next. Neil Bartlett, a theatre director, was particularly inspired by one book of that era. “Infection, invasion, panic, closed borders,” he mused, “this may be a classic novel, but re-reading it often felt like watching the ten o’clock news.”

“The Plague” by Albert Camus is set in the Algerian city of Oran, described as a dull and dusty coastal city “built with its back turned to the bay”. The novel starts when Dr Rieux, the protagonist, starts noticing dead rats. Soon humans are dropping too and eventually Oran finds itself quarantined from the rest of the world. Citizens are cut off from friends, family and…Continue reading

via K. Brent Tomer CFTC How “The Plague” infects the modern political mood


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