Showing posts from March, 2020

COVID-19 and the Black Death: Present and Past Collide

If you are a student of literature, you would have met Francesco Petrarch. His name is immortalised in the term Petrarchan sonnet , even though he didn’t develop the form. He lived in the 14 th century and survived the Black Death , the Plague that ravaged Eurasia between 1347 and 1351, killing millions of people. Interestingly, that Plague started in the East before moving to Europe and, like the COVID-19 disease which is ravaging the world in 2020, it made a devastating pit stop in Italy of that time. Petrarch was Italian and reflected in many letters about the course of that Plague. One of his reflections has much resonance today.   Kevin Shau , in an article on Medium ,  shares some excerpts from Petrarch's letters that he wrote to his friend and fellow literary great, Giovanni Boccaccio. Of the passage of the Plague, Petrarch wrote : “While I am lamenting in vain and unburdening my spirit of these sorrows, I am accusing men who cannot reply: if only, dea