The Plague

There is an enormous amount of scholarship on the Plague and the discussion about its causes, origins and effects on 14th-century culture and society is still raging. Two classic studies on this topic are: David Herlihy, The Black Death and the Transformation of the West, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997; and Philip Ziegler, The Black Death, London, Collins, 1979. Among more recent contributions, in English: John Aberth, The Black Death: The Great Mortality of 1348-1350, Bedford Saint Martin, 2005; Shona Kelly Wray, "Boccaccio and the doctors: medicine and compassion in the face of the plague," Journal of Medieval History; Sept. 2004, Vol. 30 Issue 3, p.301-322, and Samuel Kline Cohn, Jr., “The Black Death: The End of a Paradigm,” The American Historical Review 107.3 (June 2002): p.703 (36).

In this section, you will find accounts by Boccaccio's contemporaries, as well as some information on how the Plague was viewed and interpreted in Medieval Medical and Religious Tracts.