Introduction: Beyond the Plague

  • Darryl ChalkEmail author
  • Mary Floyd-Wilson
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)


In the absence of germ theory, what constituted contagion in the minds of the early moderns? In this introduction to the volume, Chalk demonstrates that early modern writers devoted constant attention to the possibility of contagious transmission, the notion that someone might be infected or transformed by the presence of others, through various kinds of exchange, or if exposed to certain ideas, practices, or environmental conditions, and they often did so in ways not limited to medical inquiry or the narrow study of a particular disease. In addition to outlining an approach to understanding pre-modern theories of contagion in relation to the efficacy of theatre in this period, he provides a guide to the interweaving concerns of the contributions to this collection.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Southern QueenslandToowoombaAustralia
  2. 2.University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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