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World Health Crises: Plague

(see also World Health Crises)

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Plague, spread by a flea living on rats, was the most devastating epidemic of pre-modern times, killing many millions in each of three pandemic episodes (mid-6th c., mid-14thc. & late 19th c.) -- most unforgettably in the well-documented "Black Death" of 1347-50, said to have reduced the population of Western Europe by one third. Frequent more localized outbursts include the much-studied London episode of 1665. The danger of plague's recurrence on a wide scale today is greatly reduced by modern sanitary procedures; but the disease is nevertheless still with us, & it is worth studying closely, as a case study in the evolution of public health policies, & in the social psychology of mass catastrophe.

On the Web: Articles

Plague (scientific description).

On the Web: Specialized Sites

CDC Plague Home Page.

The Black Plague, 1348-1350.

In the Library: Articles

Artaud, Antoine. The Theater & Its Double (NY: Grove, 1958). Chap. 1 for detailed description of plague episode in 18th-c. Marseilles.

Bridbury, A.R. "The Black Death," Economic History Review 26,4 (111/73):577-92.

Friedrich, Otto. "The Black Death, 1347-50," in his The End of the World: A History (NY, 1982), pp. 111-42.

Langer, William L. "The Black Death," Scientific American (2/64):114-21.

In the Library: Non-Fiction Books

Benedict, Carol. Bubonic Plague in 19th-c. China (Stanford CA: Stanford, 1996).

Biraben, Jean-Noël. Les hommes et la peste en France et dans les pays européens et mediterranéens, vol. I: La peste et la histoire (The Hagued, 1975).

Cambell, Anna M. The Black Death & Men of Learning (NY, 1932).

Cipolla, Carlo M. Cristofano & the Plague: A Study in the History of Public Health in the Age of Galileo (Berkeley: U. of California, 1976). Official struggles to deal with epidemic at Prato in 1630.

__________. Faith, Reason & the Plague in 17th-c. Tuscany (NY, 1979). Detailed study of epidemic of 1630 in single village of Monte Lupo.

Cohn, Samuel K. Jr. The Cult of Remembrance & the Black Death: Six Renaissance Cities in Central Italy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1992).

Dohar, William J. The Black Death & Pastoral Leadership: The Diocese of Hereford in the 14th C. (Philadelphia, 1995).

Does, Michael W. The Black Death in the Middle East (Princeton NJ: Princeton, 1977).

Gottfried, Robert S. The Black Death: Natural & Human Disaster in Medieval Europe (NY, 1983).

Herlihy, David. The Black Death & the Transformation of the West (Cambridge MA: Harvard, 1997).

Hirst, Leonard F. The Conquest of Plague: A Study of the Evolution of Epidemiology (Oxford: Clarendon, 1953).

Horrox, Rosemary. The Black Death (Manchester, 1994). Primary sources.

Jennings, William E. A Manual of Plague (London: Rebman, 1903).

Kohn, George C. The Encyclopedia of Plague & Pestilence (NY: Facts on File, 1995).

Moote, Lloyd & Dorothy Moote. The Great Plague: The Story of London's Most Deadly Year (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 2004).

Mullett, Charles F. The Bubonic Plague & England (Lexington: U. of Kentucky, 1956).

Nohl, Johannes. The Black Death: A Chronicle of the Plague (London, 1926).

Orent, Wendy. Plague: The Mysterious Past & Terrifying Future of the World's Most Dangerous Disease (NY: Free Press, 2004).

Shrewsbury, J.F.D. A History of Bubonic Plague in the British Isles (Cambridge: Cambridge, 1970).

Scott, Susan & Christopher Duncan. Return of the Black Death: The World's Greatest Serial Killer (NY: Wiley, 2004).

Smith, Geddes. Plague On Us (NY: Oxford, 1941).

Wu Lien-teh; J.W.H. Chun, R. Pollitzer & C.Y. Wu. Plague: A Manual for Medical & Public Health Workers (Shanghai, 1936).

Ziegler, Philip. The Black Death (London: Collins, 1969).

In the Library: Fiction

Boccaccio, Giovanni. The Decameron [13??] (London: Penguin, 2003).

Camus, Albert. The Plague (La peste) [194?] (NY, 1948).

Defoe, Daniel. A Journal of the Plague Year [1722] (NY: Dutton, 1984).

Merliss, Reuben. The Year of the Death (NY, 1965). On 1348.

In the Library: For Young Readers

In the Library: Poetry

In the Library: Drama

In the Library: Photography

CD & Audio

Film & Video

"Il Decameron" [1971], dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini, 112m. In video stores.

"The Plague (La peste)" [1992], dir. Luis Puenzo, 148m. In video stores.

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