Journal article

Morbus Anglicus; or, Pandemic, Panic, Pandaemonium

Justin Clemens

Crisis and Critique | Crisis and Critique | Published : 2020


Mid-17th century England births two fateful new signifiers: pandemic and pandaemonium. Although both words are founded on a Greek root pan, meaning all, neither designate a firm or flourishing polity. The words also retain close etymological, homophonic, and semantic relations to another crucial word of the time: panic. Yet these terms do not simply indicate the destruction or abolition of politics or the political, but rather reconstitute the problem of politics according to a radical paradox. This essay examines the emergence and reconstitution of these signifiers in a philological matrix inflected by plague, civil war, religious violence, scientific inquiry, and monarchical restoration, i..

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University of Melbourne Researchers