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Publisher's Summary

As the Black Death swept across Europe, killing up to a half of the population in certain areas, a young Geoffrey Chaucer came of age in England. While he and his family avoided the worst of the disease, all were shaped by its presence and impact on the British island. In fact, Chaucer’s most famous work shines light on a complex period underwritten by trauma and tragedy, without ever explicitly mentioning the bubonic plague by name. Through its characters, themes, and stories, The Canterbury Tales is a portal into medieval Europe and can thus be a useful tool in expanding our knowledge and challenging our assumptions about what life was truly like in plague times.

With expert Simon Doubleday, professor of history at Hofstra University, in After the Plague, examine medieval literature like The Canterbury Tales for firsthand accounts from minority voices not typically heard from in the period. Learn of historical arguments to see how the outbreak of disease reshaped the continent for good. Start by exploring “pre-plague” Europe: a place that, despite popular belief, was neither backwards nor isolated. Learn about the continent’s key global connections, many of which hastened the spread of disease. Dive into medieval innovations in science, medicine, public health, and disaster responses that helped prime and prepare European institutions and leadership for what was to come. And challenge your preconceived notions of what everyday life was like for women, children, minority groups, and families leading up to the outbreak.

Then, get to know the Black Death as a disease—its pathology, symptoms, and population-level impact and effects of the plague experience. Map its destructive path from densely packed cities in England to Jewish enclaves in Spain. Go even broader to investigate the social, political, and economic realities of the plague era and how medieval Europeans from Chaucer’s fictional characters to peasant revolutionaries made sense of and responded to them. And understand how human resilience, a remarkable quality that transcends time and place, functions in the face of widespread tumult and trauma. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2022 The Great Courses (P)2022 The Teaching Company, LLC

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Interesting

Interesting, but not as good or engaging as
Dorsey Armstrong’s course on the Black Death.

2 people found this helpful