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French & Italian
French literature professor Marc Olivier made a splash with his book "Household Horror: Cinematic Fear and the Secret Life of Everyday Objects," landing him a series editor position for a new series, Icons of Horror.
Albert Camus’ novel depicts the city of Oran, Algeria during a contemporary outbreak of the plague. While there are obvious parallels between the plague in the novel and the peste brune (the brown plague, a nickname for the Nazis who occupied France during World War 2), by transforming the threat into an act of nature, Camus shifts the focus from human cruelty to the many reactions to suffering: some pretend it doesn’t exist, some try to escape it, others accept it and try to alleviate pain.
As we all spend time in isolation, Associate Professor of French Bob Hudson reflects on how the Heptaméron provides us with a model for reflecting upon and challenging ideologies and social conventions during this period of quarantine.
Associate Professor Jennifer Haraguchi (Italian) speaks about the role of the plague in Boccaccio’s Decameron and his unique prescription for a cure: storytelling.