Volume 11, Issue 1, October 2020

A Word from the Editor

In this time of coronavarius it seems fitting to publish an issue on pandemics. We therefore offer you three reviews, two of them of iconic novels about plague and cholera, while a third deals with the discovery of the plague bacillus and vaccine.

In her review of Albert Camus’s La Peste, Meaghan Emery notes the uncanny resemblance between what Camus imagined and what we are experiencing, but places equal weight on the message of revolt that runs through Camus’s oeuvre. This allows her to link the novel to the Black Lives Matter movement in France.

Jeffrey Hobbs takes a fresh look at Le hussard sur le toit, Jean Giono’s recreation of the 1832 cholera epidemic in Provence. While the Carbonaro Angelo is generally viewed as the model of a Romantic, selfless hero, Hobbs questions this interpretation, viewing it as a more complex combination of egotism and altruism.

In a similar vein, Michael Vann furnishes us with a context for Alexandre Yersin’s discoveries of the plague bacillus. As a counterpoint to Patrick Deville’s hagiographic take in Plague and Cholera, Vann presents us with a troubled man, who combines an interest in science with a colonialist drive to possess territory and control its inhabitants.

Happy reading!

Liana Vardi

University at Buffalo, SUNY


Table of Contents


To Watch Someone Die: La Peste, by Meaghan Emery
Jean Giono’s Le hussard sur le toit: Egotism and Altruism in the Time of Cholera, by Jeffrey B Hobbs
Alexandre Yersin: Plague Conqueror and White Colonizer, by Michael G. Vann