Ars Longa was conceived during the pandemic. It began as a conversation — over Gchat, of course—in those heady days of lockdown, when we couldn’t leave and didn’t know anything about anything. It seemed very rational to start a new online venture. Of course, the theme for our first issue had to be “Plagues, Politics, and Portents.”
Our inaugural issue contains three papers, each addressing one facet of our theme. Along with our three papers, we are presenting a small online exhibition of prints. For early modern audiences, prints were an important form of mass media. Our dependence on various forms of mass media during the pandemic —and especially during lockdown made us curious about how early modern audiences shared information and opinions during difficult times.
This project has been both more fun—and more work—than we ever could have imagined, and we are immensely grateful to all the contributors, both to the Journal and to the Blog, who trusted us enough to shepherd their work into publication. We also want to warmly thank our Guest Editor, Paris Spies-Gans, for generously sharing her time and attention. With gratitude, we dedicate this issue to our community–of readers and writers, dreamers and thinkers.