Headline, May 21 2019/ ''' '' LEADERSHIP STUDENTS LITERATURE '' '''



''The Last Man'' just so predicted the political causes of and collective solutions for ''global plague''. As far back as 1826.

THE WORLD teeters in collective anxiety in the midst of a pandemic. A novel and lethal plague spreads its tentacles around the earth. It ravages human populations and simultaneously undermines their interconnected economic and political systems.

An entire group of political leaders gathers to ask, What should be done in the face of worldwide public health crisis.

This story line should sound familiar. But I am not summarizing the news headlines about Covid-19.  I am recalling the plot of a great work of literature. It is Mary Shelly's futuristic novel about a global plague, ''The Last Man'' [1826].

Shelley saw that a disaster of a pandemic would be driven by politics. This politics would be deeply personal yet international in scope.

The spiraling health crisis would be caused by what people and their leaders had done and failed to do on the international stage - in trade, war and the interpersonal bargains, pacts and conflicts that precede them. 

As we heed scientists warning that we are entering ''the age of pandemics,'' we can benefit from reading ''The Last Man'' as the first major post-apocalyptic novel.

In her second great work of science fiction after ''Frankenstein'' [1818], Shelley - the child of two philosophers - gave her readers an existential mindset for collectively dealing with the threat of a global man-made disaster.

''The Last Man'' is set in the year 2100. The novels driving conflict is a highly contagious disease. Like the coronavirus, the novel's plague spreads by a combination of airborne particles and contact with carriers.

In both cases, it has been incubated, exacerbated and left unchecked by destructive human behavior.

 ''The Last Man'' has been so influential that you are already familiar with its basic plot even if you have not read it yet. It presents the history of the ostensible sole survivor of a global plague.

Much like ''Frankenstein,'' ''The Last Man'' has repeatedly been remade in the science fiction and horror genres - from the works of Edgar Allan Poe to countless zombie apocalypse movies inspired by the 1964 film ''The Last Man on Earth''.

The later starred none other than the king of horror, Vincent Price. He played the last human left alive on the globe after a virulent contagion turned other people into vampires.

In Shelley's novel, it is a man named Lionel Verney who finds himself in this extreme and precarious position.

In her allegorical networking of  biblical narrative of the fall and rebirth of humankind, Verney is a  humble shepherd boy who marries into the royal family at Windsor Castle.

He quickly ascends to the top of the leadership ranks. He serves as a trusted adviser to lords, ministers and legislature as the plague breaks out in Constantinople and then creeps toward London.

After Verney leads a failed expedition of plague survivors from the crumbled republic of England to the vacant coast of Italy, he is left-alone in Rome to contemplate the future.

He climbs to the top of the dome of St. Peter's Basilica and carves the year - 2100 - in the stone.

From that sublime vantage, he surveys the remains of human civilization.

The Honor and Serving of the past Global Literature on World and Crises, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Eileen Hunt Botting.

With respectful dedication to the Leaders, Grandparents, Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world.

See Ya all prepare and register for  Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter-!E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011:

''' Operas - Opinion '''

Good Night and God Bless

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