French professor Alice Kaplan has taught about plague and crisis before. Now the chair of the French Department, she has taught some of France’s hallmark texts following the Great Recession and, now, teaches amid a global pandemic that has infected around two million people across the globe.

But the impacts of this crisis are markedly different, and her plans for the semester have shifted. The syllabus for her course “The Modern French Novel,” crafted well before the pandemic, includes Albert Camus’s The Plague — a 1947 novel about a virus that rips through a small French village in Algeria. She said she cannot teach the book like she has in the past.

“I could not use the same lecture I used before,” she said.  Isolation

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