The word Quarantine is most familiar to everyone now. Now many people are staying in home due to this pandemic COVID19 situation. Isolation or quarantine is a great time to prioritize your mental and physical well-being, but if you also want to use it to be productive, you have plenty of historical role models to choose from. Here is the list of people who produced some of his best work during a pandemic—here are some other great thinkers and artists who used social distancing to their advantage.
1) William Shakespeare
In the early 1600s, Shakespeare was an actor and shareholder with The King’s Men theater troupe. His theater company locked their playhouse doors due to the outbreak of bubonic plague and in his quarantine, he wrote “King Lear”. Reportedly he also wrote Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra that year.
“Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well.”
2) Isaac Newton
In 1665, when the last major outbreaks of the bubonic plague hit England. Newton was in his early 20s, classes at Cambridge University were canceled, so Newton retreated to his family estate roughly 60 miles away to continue his studies there. Newton developed some of his best work during that year in quarantine. He wrote papers that would become early forms of calculus, developed theories on optics and gravity.
“Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.”
3) Giovanni Boccaccio
Florentine writer and poet Giovanni Boccaccio was personally affected by the bubonic plague. When it hit Florence in 1348, both his father and stepmother succumbed to the disease. As the disease ravaged the city, he fled to the country side while being quarantined inside a villa. Giovanni Boccaccio wrote “The Decameron” a collection of novellas framed as stories a group of friends tell each other while quarantined inside a villa during the plague.
“You must read, you must preserve, you must sit up nights, you must inquire, and exert the utmost power of your mind.”
4) Edvard Munch
The Scream painter Edvard Munch didn’t just witness the Spanish Flu pandemic change the world around him—he contracted the disease around the beginning of 1919. So he devoted his time in making great art during the quarantine. He made a self-potrait with the Spanish Flu, that shows thinning hair and a thin face sitting in front of his sickbed.
“Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye… it also includes the inner pictures of the soul.”
5) Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe was an Elizabethan playwright who gained fame around the same time as William Shakespeare. In 1592, when the bubonic plague hit London, Nashe fled to the countryside to avoid the infection. During this time in quarantine, he wrote “Summers’ Last Will and Testament”, a play that showcases his experiences living through the outbreak of the plague.
“All things to end are made, The plague full swift goes by.”