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Reading Albert Camus' The Plague During a Global Pandemic

Saturday, August 8, 2020

This talk is part of the Greenberg Distinguished Colloquium.

Event Time

August 7, 2020 | Friday
8:30 pm - 10:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)
August 8, 2020 | Saturday
8:30 am - 10:00 am China Standard Time (CST)

Participating Format

Registration is required to obtain a ZOOM Conference access link, which will be sent to your registration email or phone shortly. Please enter ZOOM room 15 minutes before the starting time. When the room is full, latecomers will not be able to access the ZOOM conference.

Registration and Fees

Click HERE to register.
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Attention: Recording (audiotaping or videotaping) during the event is not allowed.


The language of the event will be English.

The Event

Albert Camus’ novel The Plague will go down in literary history as the most talked about book of the COVID-19 crisis. Originally intended as an allegory of WWII, this story of an epidemic has been a staple of literature classes since 1947. Generations of students have learned that Camus was “really” writing about his experience of World War II.

This March, that reading tradition was transformed. The epidemic brought the novel close to readers who began to read it as a book about their own lives--a book to help them get through a global health crisis. Keeping in mind this new readership, we will offer a personal and literary meditation on living and working with The Plague during a global pandemic.

The Speakers


Alice Kaplan PhD '81
Sterling Professor of French and Director of the Whitney Humanities Center, Yale University

Alice Kaplan is Sterling Professor of French and the newly appointed Director of the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale. Her books include the memoir French Lessons (Nominee, National Book Critics Circle Award, 1993); histories of French fascism and literature such as The Collaborator (Finalist, National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner, Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History, 2000); and, most recently, an examination of the life and work of Albert Camus, Looking for the Stranger (New York Times Notable Book and finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award and Prix Medicis Essai, 2016).

Kaplan is a Guggenheim Fellow, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a recipient of the French Légion d’Honneur. She also is a trustee of the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France, and a founding member of the MaisonDAR collective in Algiers.


Laura Marris ’10
Writer, Translator

Laura Marris '10 is a writer and translator. She holds a B.A. from Yale and an M.F.A. in poetry from Boston University. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The North American Review, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. Her work has been supported by a MacDowell Colony Fellowship and a Daniel Varoujan Award.

Recent translation projects include Paol Keineg’s Triste Tristan (translated with Rosmarie Waldrop for Burning Deck), a graphic novel version of Proust (Liveright), and Louis Guilloux’s Blood Dark (NYRB), which was shortlisted for the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize. She teaches creative writing at the University at Buffalo and is currently at work on a new translation of Albert Camus' The Plague.

Greenberg Distinguished Colloquium

Thanks to the generosity of Mr. Maurice R. Greenberg, Chairman and CEO of C.V. Starr & Co. Inc. the Yale Center Beijing is pleased to host the Greenberg Distinguished Colloquium, which will convene thought leaders from all sectors who, in the spirit of Mr. Greenberg, play pivotal roles in building bridges among China, the U.S., and the rest of the world.

Mr. Greenberg has been a member of Yale Center Beijing’s Executive Council and retired as the Chairman and CEO of American International Group (AIG). In 2018, he was awarded the China Reform Friendship Medal.

This event is hosted by Yale Center Beijing.

Public Event