Lessons on a Pandemic

Life in the Time of Cholera: Lessons on a Pandemic 3.2020
George Prochnik
Read the full article in Emergence Magazine

Walking the streets of London just before the current lockdown, the author reflects on “the patterns of human relations that have been thrown into relief by our general loss of immunity” and “how we could better arrange our existence when the crisis finally abates.” A long reflection on the poet, Heinrich Heine, during the cholera pandemic in 1832 Paris, evokes parallels with questions we are facing: “hysteria v. prudence, swagger v. courage…our personal role in this unfolding cataclysm, today, tomorrow, the day after.” A jarring phone call from his son, a paramedic with the NYC Fire Department, brings the reverie briefly home, and then anchors us deeply in the past…and the future.

George Prochnik is a widely-published essayist, poet, and novelist and observer of social, psychological, cultural and political nuances. He taught English and American literature at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, is editor-at-large for Cabinet magazine, and author of In Pursuit of Silence.