Florence Under Siege Surviving Plague in an Early Modern City John Henderson

Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
09 Jul 2019
ISBN:
9780300196344
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
352 pages: 235 x 156mm
Illustrations:
50 b-w illus. + 4 maps & 13 figs

Plague remains the paradigm against which reactions to many epidemics are often judged. Here, John Henderson examines how a major city fought, suffered, and survived the impact of plague. Going beyond traditional oppositions between rich and poor, this book provides a nuanced and more compassionate interpretation of government policies in practice, by recreating the very human reactions and survival strategies of families and individuals.

From the evocation of the overcrowded conditions in isolation hospitals to the splendor of religious processions, Henderson analyzes Florentine reactions within a wider European context to assess the effect of state policies on the city, street, and family. Writing in a vivid and approachable way, this book unearths the forgotten stories of doctors and administrators struggling to cope with the sick and dying, and of those who were left bereft and confused by the sudden loss of relatives.

John Henderson is professor of Italian renaissance history at Birkbeck, University of London, and Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge. His publications include The Renaissance Hospital and The Great Pox with Jon Arrizabalaga and Roger French.