One Man’s Incomplete Search for the Meaning of COVID-19

Robert Zaretsky’s book, Victories Never Last: Reading and Caregiving in a Time of Plague seeks to apply the wisdom of six writers—Thucydides, Marcus Aurelius, Michel de Montaigne, Daniel Defoe, Albert Camus, and Mary Shelley—to his own experiences of pandemic. For all its fascinating reflections, the book offers the reader no account of theodicy, and provides no systematic handbook for making sense of global pandemic. Nonetheless, he successfully shows that great books and thinkers of bygone eras continue to assert their relevance.
The growing movement to legalize physician-assisted suicide raises fundamental questions about how to die well. The late medieval Ars moriendi text, which argues that preparation for death should be directed toward the goal of union with God, provides a valuable framework for more successfully incorporating the art of dying into a contemporary context.