In her recently published book, Nos Apocalypses, a finalist for the 2022 Prix Medicis, Clémence Boulouque surveys religious responses to epidemics, from Exodus to the coronavirus, and of literary descriptions of diseases, from Boccacio and Goethe to Camus and Octavia Butler. Functioning as social criticism, scriptures and literary texts allow us to engage with questions of collective guilt, collective mourning, and divine justice (or the lack thereof), and to grapple with the societal disruptions, persecution, and discriminations that illnesses create or expose. While some of the parallels with our current times are obvious, these texts also help us to nuance responses to past epidemics and to read them anew. Nos Apocalypses is thus an invitation to understand scriptures as literature and to contemplate the uses of religious imagination in order to ponder what brings us together when disaster strikes.
Professor Boulouque’s book developed from her 2020 undergraduate course From Exodus to Coronavirus.
Professor Boulouque will be speaking about the book at Maison Francaise on November 16 at 6 p.m. - click here to register for this in person event.