The fictional novel "The Crimson Plague" - published in 1912 by its American writer Jack London - dealt with our contemporary life more than a hundred years ago, and some of its events resembled our current reality in the time of the Corona pandemic, and in the fictional novel the only survivor of the infection was the grandfather of the protagonist.
In the events of the novel, an enormous and uncontrollable pandemic is spreading, and after sixty years he will have killed most of the inhabitants of the earth, while Grandpa James Smith with a few others survives, and Smith tells his young grandchildren - who work as primitive hunters and collectors in an uncrowded world - the story of the disease The so-called "scarlet plague" or "red death", completely changed the lives of people and eliminated their advanced civilization.
In one passage of the novel, the grandfather - who feels a yearning for his ancient world - murmurs, "Regimes disappear like foam. The toil of all people on the planet was merely ephemeral bubbles. Man was domesticated with animals, domesticated some of them, annihilated by hostile animals, cleansed the earth of its wild plants, and then returned The flood of primitive life once again, weeds and forests inundated human fields, predators invaded groups, and with prehistoric weapons people defended themselves against looting ... Think about it ... all because of the vermilion death. "
Read pandemic time
The writer Paolo Di Stefano said in his report published in the Italian newspaper "Corriere", he believed that quarantine doubles the reading time. But he realized that he had read much less this past March, compared to the first few months of the year. And because he is obsessed with the subject of the virus like many, he reached a beautiful short novel that is very relevant to the current situation.
The author recommends reading this novel not only because it talks about a hundred years ago, but also because it is a technically perfect story, and embodies the so-called great literature. It is a miserable story, or rather a story about after the end of the world, similar to the famous novel "The Way" by American writer and novelist Cormac McCarthy, which has been turned into a movie.
The novel takes place in 2073, California, and we returned to the Stone Age, where a university professor survived to tell a group of illiterate children (his grandchildren) how he survived the extinction of mankind due to a deadly bacterium sixty years ago (2013), when the United States was ruling it. A mysterious council of the wealthy charged with appointing the president to be the master of the world, who "was a man worth one billion and 800 million".
The novel touched upon the discovery of a sudden disease that spread terror and lack of faith in the ranks of people, and then pushed them to isolation, escape and suspicion, as it revealed many cheese and the heroism of the few, and in the meantime, the bodies that will be buried or disposed of will accumulate.
The grandfather remains alone in the world, he believes. As always happens in the accounts of the epidemic, even the London socialist does not see infection and the unleashing of nature as a trivial punishment from God, but rather a unique opportunity to reflect on the human condition, growth, behaviors, mentalities and lifestyles. All writers on the plague invite the reader to rethink the moral dimension of human existence. They do this because they know that some situations require a serious re-reading of the past, and they represent a decisive turning point and a dream (perhaps na )ve) for a future that is different from what we leave behind, and why there is no opportunity not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
The writer pointed out that the lesson of the grandfather, the hero of the London novel, is very bitter, and in fact frustrating: “Gunpowder will return. Nothing can stop it, and the old story itself will repeat itself,” as the catastrophe is not enough to push a person to rethink his behavior, as He will return to a world divided between emperors, the ruling class, or race who owns lands and machinery, and people of slaves.
The novel tells of the fragility and weakness of modern civilization in the face of the epidemic, and presents a social and cultural criticism of contemporary society, and tells the story of a wild world that smells of death and destruction, and presents the story of the grandfather's survival between thieves, gangs and hungry people who are ready to pounce on everything that moves.
The note of Ottavio Vatica, translator of the book to Italian, "We will not be as we were before", we can think of the words of the wise novel (grandfather) about gunpowder as a metaphor for the public health that we sacrificed for private health today, and the ecological balance in which we have been excessive For the growth of GDP, in addition to that we sacrificed economic harmony for the desire to consume, dispense with critical thinking for the digital world, and sacrificed time for technological coercion. This is a fairytale, even if it seems to be a nightmare.