Members of TheLiterary Lab will join us to present:
“Writing and Epidemic”
Our project, a collaborative effort of the Stanford Literary Lab, takes a multi-pronged approach to investigating writing that responds to epidemics, both present and historical. In response to the current pandemic, we are analyzing recent news sources while we simultaneously explore historical newspaper coverage for analogs of other diseases. We’re particularly interested in the language of care and safety: in epidemic conditions, who gets to care? Who gets personified or erased? While we ponder these questions of public rhetoric, we’ve also begun an investigation into social distancing and the novel of isolation. Does the way that we describe isolation in literary contexts change according to the gender of the characters, whether it is voluntary or not, or whether the distancing happens alone or in groups? By exploring the ways in which novels have confronted the experience of social distancing, we seek to gain a better understanding of our own moment.
Our project is a collaboration between members of the Stanford Literary Lab. Participants include Mark Algee-Hewitt, Steele Douris, Yibing Du, Charlotte Lindeman, Nika Mavrody, Nichole Nomura, J.D. Porter, and Matt Warner, who initiated the project and has coordinated the different aspects of our work as a whole.