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From the publisher
What do you do with death and dying when they can no longer be pushed to the outer limits of your lived experience or dismissed from your conscious mind? How do you live with death or rather how do you ‘live death’ when death comes too close, seeming to enter the very air you breathe?
The Plague is a collection of essays guiding us from the Covid-19 pandemic through to the war in Ukraine in order to imagine a world in which a radical respect for death might exist alongside a fairer distribution of the earth’s wealth. ‘Living death’ will appear as something of a refrain, a reminder that to think of death as random, or as an avoidable intruder into how we order our lives, especially in the West, is an act of defiance that is doomed to fail. In the thought of the philosopher Simone Weil, who plays a key role in the book, only if we admit the limits of the human, will we stop vaunting the brute illusion of earthly power.
‘It’s really hard for me to overestimate how important [Rose’s] work has been for me ... I don’t feel like that about very many writers.’ – Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts
‘To read Rose is to understand that there is no border between us and the world; it is an invitation to a radical kind of responsibility.’ – New York Times
‘Rose’s work remains surprising and original ... The more I read her, the more I see the world through her questions ... Her real power, what makes her necessary as well as unique, may be how she teaches readers to ask probing questions on their own.’ – New York Review of Books
‘One of the world’s foremost public intellectuals.’ – Mark Gevisser, author of The Pink Line
‘As a literary scholar and psychoanalytic thinker, Rose has long insisted that we pay close attention to the subterranean fears, fantasies, and narratives that structure our most pressing sociopolitical problems.’ – Merve Emre, The Nation