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Business as usual in the face of more than 257,000 fellow Americans dying
from the coronavirus?—the business of editing Delos, a scholarly journal of
literary translations, somewhat removed from the physical manifestations
where our sisters and brothers, the first responders in the hospitals nursing homes and schools, are employed. Together, our survival and livelihoods are at risk in the current pandemic.
There are many historical and literary precedents for what we are going
through today, beginning with Boccaccio in the fourteenth century and culminating with Albert Camus’s novel The Plague (La Peste, 1947), which he effectively employed as a symbol of Nazi ideology and occupation of France, and as a warning against mass hysteria for future generations, not merely for students of the political process and future epidemiologists, but for ordinary citizens like us.
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