Human-Made and Natural Catastrophes Reflected in Western Literature: From Antiquity to the Present


  • Albrecht Classen University Distinguished Professor of German Studies, University of Arizona. Author



Black Death, Boccaccio, Marguerite de Navarre, Flooding, Heinrich von Kleist, Johann Peter Hebel, Avalanches, Theodor Fontane, Storm, Josef Haslinger, Tsunami


We continue to live in an academic world where the natural sciences and the humanities are clearly demarcated from each other. However, recent years have witnessed a significant rapprochement, especially in light of the enormous need to come to terms with natural disasters that continuously strike human societies all over the world throughout time in scientific and intellectual terms. There is no doubt that we must understand those as precisely as possible, but there is also no doubt that both poets and literary scholars have always been in charge of probing and channeling the human responses and to contextualizing the catastrophic conditions in a wider context, and this also philosophically and religiously. While pre-modern literature seems to have responded to natural catastrophes only tentatively, since the nineteenth century at the latest writers, poets, and artists increasingly have interacted with those disasters and reflected on their impacts in human life more in depth.


Download data is not yet available.







How to Cite

Classen, Albrecht. “Human-Made and Natural Catastrophes Reflected in Western Literature: From Antiquity to the Present”. International Journal of Research in Humanities and Social Studies, vol. 11, no. 2, Apr. 2024, pp. 9-18,