Bills of Mortality: Disease and Destiny in Plague Literature - download pdf or read online

By Patrick Reilly

ISBN-10: 143312422X

ISBN-13: 9781433124228

Bills of Mortality: affliction and future in Plague Literature from Early glossy to Postmodern Times explores the dynamic among the very fact of plague and the constructs of future lethal disorder generates in literary texts starting from Daniel Defoe’s A magazine of the Plague Year to Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. the amount is of curiosity to readers in either literary and clinical, particularly scientific, fields. moreover, it serves as an available creation to plague literature and to the sector during which it has advanced due to the fact precedent days. To undergraduate and graduate scholars, Bills of Mortality gives a chance for scholarly engagement in a subject matter no much less well timed now than it used to be while plague struck Milan in 1629 or ravaged Venice in 1912 or felled Thebes in antiquity.

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Additional resources for Bills of Mortality: Disease and Destiny in Plague Literature from Early Modern to Postmodern Times

Example text

S measured irony yields to the voice of the Dissenter as he attributes some responsibility for the plague’s visitation to royalist excess and folly, the failure of moral (Presbyterian) restraint in the circle of the profligate Court having elicited to a significant—and deadly—degree God’s judgment on the entire nation. Only it is the poor people who are dying. The Court may have been frolicking in Oxford, but in London, mostly among the poor, in the week of July 4–11, “1268 [died] of all distempers, whereof it might be supposed 900 died of the plague” (16).

F. notes, then adds that he believes “this account was deficient” and “there died above ten thousand a week for all those weeks”; for in the city’s “inexpressible” confusion the bodies in the dead-carts often went uncounted, frequently because the drivers themselves died either in transit to or at the site of the burial pits (176-7). Accurate or not, the numbers convey the stark reality of the plague; they establish the matter of the black death’s overwhelming fact, especially among the mass of people abandoned to the pestilential city.

F. may assert himself to be in his resolve, which he has lodged—sincerely, to all appearances—less, it seems, in his economic concerns as a tradesman than in his faith that his destiny lies in the protective hand of God, he does more than once in the face of a plague that is in fact claiming victims by the thousands regret his decision: “I have already said that I repented several times that I had ventured to stay in town, and had not gone away with my brother and his family” (174). ’s part bears little comparison to the willful indifference to the danger of contagion manifested by the predestinarian Turks and Mahometans or to the hysteria and fatalist folly of half-mad Londoners on the city’s plague-infested streets.

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Bills of Mortality: Disease and Destiny in Plague Literature from Early Modern to Postmodern Times by Patrick Reilly

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