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How does COVID-19 compare to plagues throughout history? Shakespearean literature has some answers

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Rebecca Totaro
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The Plague Epic in Early Modern England: Heroic Measures, 1603–1721

When the bubonic plague swept through Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries very few, if any, official records were kept that described what everyday people were experiencing.

"There were histories about plague that might include demographics…how many people died. But, up until about the 1700s there were diaries, there weren't newspapers as we know them. So, to find out what was the human experience of plague what we have are writings."
Dr. Rebecca Totaro

Dr. Rebecca Totaro is dean and professor at Florida Gulf Coast University; and an author whose work focuses on plagues in history as understood through the lens of literature…William Shakespeare in particular. Learn some history, and explore ways our modern response to the COVID-19 pandemic might have similarities to plagues in history, and how writers…and all of us…responded.

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