The Plague Writers who predicted Today
Survival, isolation, community and love are explored in these plausible, prescient books. Jane Ciabattari on the novels that tell us ‘we’ve been through this before and we’ve survived’.
In uncertain – indeed, weird – times like these, as we increase our social isolation to ‘flatten the curve’, literature provides escape, relief, comfort and companionship. Less comfortingly, though, the appeal of pandemic fiction has also increased. Many pandemic titles read like guide books to today’s situation. And many such novels give a realistic chronological progression, from first signs through to the worst times, and the return of ‘normality’. They show us we’ve been through this before. We’ve survived.
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Daniel Defoe’s 1722 A Journal of the Plague Year, which chronicles the 1665 bubonic plague in London, gives an eerie play-by-play of events that recalls our own responses to the initial shock and voracious spread of the new virus.
Defoe begins in September 1664, when rumours circulate of the return of ‘pestilence’ to Holland. Next comes the first suspicious death in London, in December, and then, come spring, Defoe describes how death notices posted in local parishes have taken an ominous rise. By July, the City of London enforces new rules – rules now becoming routine in our 2020 shutdown, such as “that all public feasting, and particularly by the companies of this city, and dinners at taverns, ale-houses, and other places of common entertainment, be forborne till further order and allowance…”
Nothing, Defoe writes, “was more fatal to the inhabitants of this city than the supine negligence of the people themselves, who, during the long notice or warning they had of the visitation, made no provision for it by laying in store of provisions, or of other necessaries, by which they might have lived retired and within their own houses, as I have observed others did, and who were in a great measure preserved by that caution…”
By August, Defoe writes, the plague is “very violent and terrible”; by early September it reaches its worst, with “whole families, and indeed whole streets of families… swept away together.” By December, “the contagion was exhausted, and also the winter weather came on apace, and the air was clear and cold, with sharp frosts… most of those that had fallen sick recovered, and the health of the city began to return.” When at last the streets are repopulated, “people went along the streets giving God thanks for their deliverance.”
What could be more dramatic than taking a snapshot of a plague in progress, when tensions and emotions are heightened, and survival instincts kick in? The pandemic narrative is a natural for realistic novelists like Defoe, and later Albert Camus.
Camus’ The Plague, in which the city of Oran in Algeria is shut down for months as the plague decimates its people (as happened in Oran in the 19th Century), also abounds with parallels to today’s crisis. Local leaders are reluctant at first to acknowledge the early signs of the plague dying rats littering the streets. “Are our city fathers aware that the decaying bodies of these rodents constitute a grave danger to the population?” asks a columnist in the local newspaper. The book’s narrator Dr Bernard Rieux reflects the quiet heroism of medical workers. “I have no idea what’s awaiting me, or what will happen when this all ends. For the moment I know this: there are sick people and they need curing,” he says. In the end, there’s the lesson learned by the plague’s survivors: “They knew now that if there is one thing one can always yearn for, and sometimes attain, it is human love.”
The Spanish flu of 1918 reshaped the world, leading to the loss of 50 million people, on the heels of 10 million dead from World War One. Ironically, the dramatic global impact of the flu was overshadowed by the even more dramatic events of the war, which inspired countless novels. As people now practice ‘social distancing’ and communities around the globe withdraw into lockdown, Katherine Anne Porter’s description of the devastation created by the Spanish flu in her 1939 novel Pale Horse, Pale Rider feels familiar: “It’s as bad as anything can be… all the theatres and nearly all the shops and restaurants are closed, and the streets have been full of funerals all day and ambulances all night”, heroine Miranda’s friend Adam tells her shortly after she is diagnosed with influenza.
Porter portrays Miranda’s fevers and medicines, and weeks of illness and recovery, before she awakens to a new world reshaped by losses from the flu and from the war. Porter almost died from the plague of influenza herself. “I was in some strange way altered,” she told The Paris Review in a 1963 interview. “It took me a long time to go out and live in the world again. I was really ‘alienated’ in the pure sense.”
All too plausible
Twenty-first Century epidemics – Sars in 2002, Mers in 2012, Ebola in 2014 – have inspired novels about post-plague desolation and breakdown, deserted cities and devastated landscapes.
Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood (2009) shows us a post-pandemic world with humans nearly extinct, most of the population wiped out 25 years before by the ‘Waterless Flood’ a virulent plague that “travelled through the air as if on wings, it burned through cities like fire”.
Atwood captures the extreme isolation felt by the few survivors. Toby, a gardener, scans the horizon from her subsistence rooftop garden in a deserted spa. “There must be someone else left… she can’t be the only one on the planet. There must be others. But friends or foes? If she sees one, how to tell?” Ren, once a trapeze dancer – one of “the cleanest dirty girls in town” – is alive because she was in quarantine for a possible client-transmitted disease. She writes her name over and over. “You can forget who you are if you’re alone too much.”
Through flashbacks, Atwood elaborates on how the balance between the natural and human worlds was destroyed by bio-engineering sponsored by the ruling corporations, and how activists like Toby fought back. Always alert to the downside of science, Atwood bases her work on all-too-plausible premises, making The Year of the Flood terrifyingly prescient.
What makes pandemic fiction so engaging is that humans are joined together in the fight against an enemy that is not a human enemy. There are no ‘good guys’ or ‘bad guys’; the situation is more nuanced. Each character has an equal chance to survive or not. The range of individual responses to dire circumstances makes intriguing grist for the novelist – and the reader.
Ling Ma’s Severance (2018), which the author has described as an “apocalyptic office novel” with an immigrant backstory, is narrated by Candace Chen, a millennial who works at a Bible-publishing firm, and has her own blog. She is one of nine survivors who flee New York City during the fictitious 2011 Shen fever pandemic. Ma portrays the city after “the infrastructure had… collapsed, the Internet had caved into a sinkhole, the electrical grid had shut down.”
Plague Writers who predicted Today
How will they chronicle the surge in community spirit, the countless heroes among us?
Candace joins a road trip toward a mall in a Chicago suburb, where the group plans to settle. They travel through a landscape inhabited by the “fevered,” who are “creatures of habit, mimicking old routines and gestures” until they die. Are the survivors randomly immune? Or “selected” by divine guidance? Candace discovers the trade-off for safety in numbers is strict allegiance to religious rules set by their leader Bob, an authoritarian former IT technician. It’s only a matter of time before she rebels.
Our own current situation is, of course, nowhere near as extreme as the one envisaged in Severance. Ling Ma explores a worst-case scenario that, thankfully, we are not facing. In her novel, she looks at what happens in her imagined world after the pandemic fades away. After the worst, who is in charge of rebuilding a community, a culture? Among a random group of survivors, the novel asks, who decides who has power? Who sets the guidelines for religious practice? How do individuals retain agency?
The narrative strands of Emily St John Mandel’s 2014 novel Station Eleven take place before, during, and after a fiercely contagious flu originating in the Republic of Georgia “exploded like a neutron bomb over the surface of the earth”, wiping out 99 per cent of the global population. The pandemic begins the night an actor playing King Lear has a heart attack on stage. His wife is the author of science-fiction comic books set on a planet called Station Eleven that show up 20 years later, when a troupe of actors and musicians through “an archipelago of small towns”, performing Lear and Midsummer Night’s Dream in abandoned malls. Station Eleven carries echoes of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the prototypical irreverent 14th-Century storytelling cycle, set against the backdrop of the Black Death.
Plague Writers who predicted Today
Who and what determines art? Mandel asks. Does celebrity culture matter? How will we rebuild after the invisible virus lays siege? How will art and culture change? No doubt there are novels about our current circumstances in the works. How will the storytellers in the years to come portray this pandemic? How will they chronicle the surge in community spirit, the countless heroes among us? These are questions to be pondered as we increase our reading time, and prepare for the new world to emerge.
Top 10 African Countries with the Most Beautiful Women 2021
In this article, Glusea brings to the top 10 African Countries With the Most Beautiful Women 2021. African women, black women or dark skin women are generally charming, beautiful and attractive.
In this article, Glusea brings to the top 10 African Countries with the most Beautiful Women 2021. African women, black women or dark skin women are generally charming, beautiful and attractive. This is to say every country in Africa is blessed with beautiful women. These women are blessed with good looks, adventurous, open minded and attractive. If you are looking for nations with women that give most men sleepless nights then read through as we bring to you the top 10 African countries with the most beautiful women 2021.
Top 10 African Countries with the most beautiful women 2021
Table of Contents
Somalia is the African country with the most beautiful women. Somalia is an Islamic country and most of the women are covered from heard to toe but if you happen to visit the East African Country, one thing that will stern you is the beauty of their women. Somali ladies are very attractive, curvy and well mannered.
The country may have had several cases of instability, poverty, and some bad cultural practices, they have the most beautiful women in the African continent
Another African country with the most beautiful women is Ethiopia. They are brave, charming and very attractive.
The ladies of Ethiopia charm foreign men with their rare beauty. These women differ from girls from other countries by their personal features.
They are independent, hard-working, and strong. Ethiopian women are religious and modest. These peculiarities are perfectly combined with the adorable appearance of girls from Ethiopia.
Top 10 African Countries with the most beautiful women 2021 list would not be complete without the mentioning of Egyptian women. though an Islamic country and the. women are often seen covered from head to toe, Egypt has some of the most gorgeous women in Africa.
Since the ancient times, Egyptian women learn to take care of their looks.
If you happen to visit South Africa, their women would provide you the through definition of beauty. South African women will feed your fantasies with their stunning looks.
South Africa is home to people from different races; African, Afrikaans, Asians etc. This provides a rainbow of colour for the people. South African women are well cultured, respectful and good looking. This makes the nation one of the top 10 African countries with the most beautiful women.
Among the list of the African countries with the most beautiful women is Ghana. Ghanaian women are well known to have charming looks, independence and essentially outgoing.
Those from the Southern part of the country are easy going, entertaining and hardworking.
Beauty is dynamic, Cameroon women takes the idea of beauty to the next level with their natural hair styles, charming body and strong sense of humor.
Women in Cameroon are not only known for their beauty, but their rich cultural and mixed ethnicity.
If you happen to visit some of the largest cities in Nigeria, Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, you would see a lot of beautiful ladies flaunting the streets of the west African nation.
Nigerian women are very industrious, curvy, and open minded.
If you have an intention to date a Nigeria woman, then you have to be a hardworking man. Nigerian women are very strong and hard working. It takes a lot to take care of them though.
Tanzanian women are well known for their tall stature, dark skin, high cheek bones and a shinning glowing skin tone. The South East African nation is blessed with some of the most beautiful women in the African continent.
Their breathtaking looks coupled with their captivating physical features makes if more difficult to resist women from Tanzania as a man.
Take a visit to the Kingdom of Swaziland and you will understand why their King is married to 15 wives (lol).
The rich cultural heritage of Swaziland including; dresses, dance etc makes the women super charming.
Number 10 of our list of the top 10 African Countries with the most beautiful women is Kenya.
The post colonial Kenyan women and very industrious, gorgeous and have a good sense of fashion.
If you are looking for dark skin women that glows, Kenyan women have got it. Women in Kenya are curvy, open minded and adventurous.
Thanks for reading about the Top 10 African Countries with the most beautiful women. Dont forget to represent your country in the comments below.
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