Online Salon: Rebecca Totaro—The Plague in Shakespeare’s London and Lessons for Us Now

August 21, 2020 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Salem Athenaeum—Online
Donate $5-20

When it comes to pandemics, bubonic plague was far worse than COVID-19 in so many ways, but there are many interesting historical resemblances.

We are experiencing some identical phenomena now and we can learn from the historic record and literature of plagues past!

What do Shakespeare’s plays and poetryPope Clement VI, fake news and pandemics have in common? When we place these issues in the context of the current COVID-19 outbreak, we have some answers. In this illustrated Zoom talk, Professor Rebecca Totaro of Florida Gulf Coast University will use her expertise on the plague in the Renaissance to help us consider what lessons we can learn by comparing the impact and experience of infectious diseases from the Black Death to our present moment, with a special focus on Shakespeare’s plague-time London and his Romeo and Juliet.

Rebecca Totaro is Associate Dean of Curriculum and Assessment and Professor of English, Florida Gulf Coast University. A book series editor for Penn State University Press, Professor Totaro is also the recipient of the Monroe Kirk Spears Award from the academic journal Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 for her essay, “Securing Sleep in Hamlet,” and she is author and editor of five books, four of them on bubonic plague in Shakespeare’s England.


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