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Epidemics in the modern world

Author: Joann P Krieg
Publisher: New York : Twayne Publishers ; Toronto : Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; New York : Maxwell Macmillan International, ©1992.
Series: Twayne's literature & society series, no. 3.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Epidemics and their effects on human populations have provided a literary theme extending from the Bible to Albert Camus's The Plague, yet this theme is significantly absent from the literature of the United States. Why? In this groundbreaking study, Joann P. Krieg uncovers the hidden concerns in the American psyche concerning epidemic diseases as she traces evidence of specific fears peculiar to the development of  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Krieg, Joann P.
Epidemics in the modern world.
New York : Twayne Publishers ; Toronto : Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; New York : Maxwell Macmillan International, ©1992
(OCoLC)665222359
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Joann P Krieg
ISBN: 0805788522 9780805788525 080578859X 9780805788594
OCLC Number: 25710386
Description: xiii, 172 pages ; 25 cm.
Contents: 1. Introduction --
2. The Pathology of Revolution --
3. The American Plague --
4. The Disease of Poverty --
5. The Disease That "Rides Mankind" --
6. A Private Pestilence --
7. Conclusion.
Series Title: Twayne's literature & society series, no. 3.
Responsibility: Joann P. Krieg.

Abstract:

Epidemics and their effects on human populations have provided a literary theme extending from the Bible to Albert Camus's The Plague, yet this theme is significantly absent from the literature of the United States. Why? In this groundbreaking study, Joann P. Krieg uncovers the hidden concerns in the American psyche concerning epidemic diseases as she traces evidence of specific fears peculiar to the development of a national self-consciousness, especially with regard to nature in the New World. Beginning with the colonial era, ministers, politicians, and writers have downplayed, denied, or only obliquely alluded to such public miseries as smallpox, yellow fever, cholera, tuberculosis, and now AIDS, partly because of a fervent need to believe that only the old world of Europe is plague-ridden and corrupt. America, by contrast, is fresh and green, its people ever young and healthy. This attitude of denial affected even the greatest of American writers, some of whom - such as Charles Brockden Brown, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau - were themselves victims of epidemical diseases. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, and Walt Whitman broached the subject of epidemics, though often indirectly or with ambivalence. Later, Henry James, Willa Cather, and Katherine Anne Porter brought psychological awareness to the portrayal of dilemmas raised when Americans confronted epidemic illness at a personal level. Today, AIDS challenges the hope of many Americans that geographical distance will provide immunity. As Krieg demonstrates, new literature by Larry Kramer, Paul Monette, and Susan Sontag speaks with increasing daring about the once-taboo subject of epidemics and their impact on national myths as well as on individual lives.

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