Category Archives: Literature

Beyond borders: the best books about pandemics

WITH cases of coronavirus reported on four continents, health experts are concerned it could become a pandemic. The world is currently in the grip of two others – Aids and tuberculosis – while measles is on the rise again and polio stubbornly resists eradication. When smallpox was wiped out, some in the medical community were so high on their success they thought other infectious diseases would soon be licked. Fifty years later, this triumph remains unique…

This article was first published in The Guardian on 6 February 2020. To continue reading, click here.

To sing of one origin

Times_Literary_Supplement_logoNOBODY understood the power of boundaries better than Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz (1878–1947). A Swiss writer who had to go to Paris to find his voice, he returned to his native canton of Vaud during the First World War to create a distinctively French-Swiss body of literature. He was loyal to his patrie but his patrie was not Switzerland. It was his village, at most his canton – the people who shared his language and who sprang from the same soil as him. From his home on the north shore of Lake Geneva he looked across the water at the French Alps, a reminder that boundaries are where both creation and destruction happen; where opposing forces clash and new forms are born out of the old…

This article first appeared in The Times Literary Supplement on 21 August 2015.

To sing of one origin

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