Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: The Plague

  • A return to The Plague

    Bonnie SalomonChicago, Illinois, United States For the past fifteen months, I have been reading and returning to Albert Camus’ 1947 novel, The Plague. Chronicling a fictional plague epidemic in Oran, Algeria, the narrator Dr. Rieux tells the saga of a city’s horrific struggle. When Covid-19 hit American shores in March 2020, scholars and journalists alike…

  • Drawing parallels in pandemic art

    Mariella Scerri Mellieha, MaltaVictor GrechPembroke, Malta “Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky.”1 Albert Camus, The Plague Experts have long analyzed plans and developed scenarios to respond to an infectious…

  • Remembering Dr. Edmund Pellegrino, physician philosopher

    Dean GianakosLynchburg, Virginia, United States “Get Wisdom.”– Proverbs 4:5 One day in the spring of 1985, I remember jogging past the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, wondering what went on in there. It was a gorgeous afternoon, dogwoods and cherry blossoms in bloom. Students sprawled on the campus lawns. I was a medical…

  • The Plague and physician burnout

    Geoffrey RubinMark AbramsD. Edmund AnsteyNew York, New York, United States In Albert Camus’ novel The Plague,1 Doctor Rieux is a consummate physician, a hero and a “true healer.” His main charge is to compassionately perform his duty—a matter, in his words, of “common decency”—despite the personal risk of infection and death. Rieux embodies the Oslerian…

  • Applause: Reflections on The Plague and being a doctor in a pandemic

    Roger Ruiz MoralUniversidad Francisco de Vitoria. Madrid, Spain “I imagine then what the plague must be for you.Yes, – said Rieux – an endless defeat.”1 The COVID-19 lockdown is today in its fifth week. In my country, Spain, these measures have been especially severe. I am confined to my house despite being a physician, since…

  • Starvation as metaphor

    Michael Shulman  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   “Boy and Girl at Cahera” (1847) Image of the Great Famine for middle-class readers of London Illustrated News.  The mystery of Food Increased till I abjured it And dine without Like God — Emily Dickinson Susan Sontag’s 1978 essay Illness as Metaphor,1 published in serial form in The…

  • Charite hospital

    Annabelle Slingerland Leiden, the Netherlands   On November 14, 1709, King Frederik I of Prussia planted a small seed that over the following three centuries grew, branch by branch, into one of the foremost medical research and treatment centers in the world.   Plague House, 1709 The Plague, later Almshouse, Matthäus Seutter (1678-1757), circa 1740…