About This Special Issue
The global COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to rethink the ways in which we teach and study literature and the arts. It has also forced us to reconsider the place of the arts during periods of extreme physical and social crisis. Our current pandemic is also a unique occasion to reconsider literature and the arts in previous historical and cultural dispensations. For instance, the flourishing of English drama during the early modern period coincided with almost yearly visitations of the plague, while the Spanish Flu of the early twentieth century proved an important inspiration for many artists—especially the Dadaist movement.
This special issue invites papers on the impact of the current pandemic on literature and the arts, as well as the ways that artistic productions have responded to moment of extreme health crisis across historical periods and geographical boundaries. Papers might consider any aspect of the interplay of the arts and the pandemic, but also equally important theoretical questions about the role of art and literature in society during times of pandemic when a focus on the arts might seem secondary and even frivolous given the massive upheaval and even death occasioned by disease.