This essay probes literary representations of pandemic temporalities to argue that plague reshapes our sense and experience of time in specific ways: It opens contact with the epidemic past to restructure historical understanding and attendant forms of identity; it promotes utopian or cosmopolitan fantasies of shared vulnerability and future inoculation; it marks survivors with a kind of zombie consciousness in an unending, limitless present. Drawing on American works from Charles Brockden Brown's Arthur Mervyn (1799-1800) to Katherine Anne Porter's Pale Horse, Pale Rider (1939) to Tony Kushner's Angels in America (1992-95), this essay situates their discussions of plague time within broader traditions stretching from Thucydides to Daniel Defoe to Albert Camus.
|Number of pages
|American literature; a journal of literary history, criticism and bibliography
|Published - Dec 1 2020
- Contagion narratives
- Epidemics in literature
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Literature and Literary Theory