Chapter

The ‘Liberation’ of the City and Plague Poetry

Samuel K. Cohn

in Cultures of Plague

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199574025
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722530 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574025.003.0006
 						The ‘Liberation’ of the City and Plague Poetry

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The chapter reveals other new forms of plague writing spurred on by the peninsula‐wide threat of 1575–8: works of thanksgiving and liberation detailed celebrations cities offered for their heavenly and secular deliverance from plague, and published plague poetry exploded in number. It parted with plague verse of the past going back to Lucretius. In place of lugubrious corpse‐strewn horrors, the plague poetry of 1575–8 sung the praises of local heroes from heads of health boards to bell‐ringers, celebrating their epic deeds that buttressed communities against imminent destruction and ultimately defeated the ‘hydra‐headed’ plague.

Keywords: Italy; plague poetry; Lucretius; epic poetry

Chapter.  9121 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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