Meditations On The Plague Episode 10 of ‘Changing Lives’

Albert Camus’ philosophical novel, ‘La Peste’, is being read voraciously all over the world at the moment.  Written in 1947 it resonates with us today in a way Camus would probably never have imagined.  In this podcast we hear excerpts of his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in 1957 in which he describes the role of the writer in a world under constant threat by malign forces.  As we make the first tentative steps to come out of lockdown and emerge into a world where we will be living with an ongoing pandemic for the foreseeable future, I asked three academics to look at the lessons we can take from and parallels we can see in plagues from the past, using ‘La Peste’ as a springboard.  This is a montage of their reflections which are diverse but complementary and their message, like Camus’, is one of guarded optimism.  
 We hear from Professor Rosemary Lloyd, Fellow Emerita of Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge, and Professor Emerita in French at Indiana University, Dr. Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and former Archbishop of Canterbury and Mark Bailey, Professor of Late Medieval History at the University of East Anglia and High Master of St. Paul’s School.  Professor Bailey delivered the James Ford Lectures at Oxford University in 2019 on his specialist subject of thirty years, the Black Death, ‘The End of Serfdom and The Rise of The West’.      

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