Featured Story

A man with a torch walking alongside a cart of plague victim. Chalk drawing by E.M. Ward, 1848.
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images. http://wellcomeimages.org

Our featured article is Sharif Youssef’s essay on Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year (1722) as an early model for refugee theory. Youssef queries how Defoe’s novel represents trespass and asylum-seeking as necessities for refugees lacking both legal and protective infrastructures.

Refugees and the Rise of the Novel: Trespass, Necessity, and Humanitarian Casuistry in the Long Refugee Crisis

Abstract: The present-day legal theory of the refugee relies on Hannah Arendt’s famous phrase, “the right to have rights.” Yet Arendt also pointed to an earlier tradition of asylum-seeking. In this article, Professor Youssef explores early English novels’ historical association of refugees with the necessity that drives trespass. Examining the early Anglo-American novel in light of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, the essay tracks morally involuntary trespass in Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year (1722) to argue that the novel models Read More »

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