Arts & Culture
African Literature Book Club: Virtual Meet Up
- 4:30 pm
09 May 2020
Online | Free
‘In this respect our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up in themselves; in other words they were humanists: they disbelieved in pestilences. A pestilence isn’t a thing made to man’s measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn’t always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away, and the humanists first of all, because they haven’t taken their precautions.’
– The Plague, Albert Camus
Dr Rieux, the central character – a town doctor and the first in touch with the sick and dying – is quick to catch on a sense of crisis but the town leadership is complacently in waiting until the numbers are impossible to ignore. But what do the mere numbers of the dying mean to the living and un-bereaved?
The town is shut down. It can happen to us; it is happening to us. Communications must adapt to the urgent – the only – task of survival. The meanings of relationships are changing by necessity.
What does all this teach us about the meaning and experience of life?
Albert Camus’ The Plague is strangely apt for the times. In the midst of sickness, death, isolation, and lockdowns in the context of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, The Plague is increasingly getting reinvigorated attention as an important read to think about our collective condition today.
Join us at our virtual meeting of the African Literature Book Club as we discuss this novel. Let’s think together about how this book helps us to reflect on our current condition – a global one and how we may specifically think about its relationship with Africa.
To make this interesting and personal, we encourage everyone who can join us at the meeting to pick a favourite quote from book with which they can discuss how they are experiencing the times.
Register here 15 spaces remaining!
This event is hosted by the African Studies Library, University of Cambridge.