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The Black Death has been used as a subject or as a setting in modern literature and media. This may be due to the era's resounding impact on ancient and modern history, and its symbolism and connotations.
Alessandro Manzoni's I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed) is also noted for the extraordinary description of the plague that struck Milan in 1630.
Albert Camus's novel La Peste deals with the coming of a plague to Algeria.
Roger Zelazny's novel Nine Princes in Amber has his protagonist abducted from his birthland and taken to plague-torn England to die.
Edgar Allan Poe's short story The Masque of the Red Death (1842) is set in an unnamed country during a fictional plague that bears strong resemblance to the Black Death.
Connie Willis's Hugo Award-winning science fiction novel Doomsday Book imagines a future in which historians do field work by travelling into the past as observers. The protagonist, a historian, is sent to the wrong year, arriving in England just as the Black Death is starting. Likewise, Kim Stanley Robinson's alternate history novel The Years of Rice and Salt presents a future dramatically changed by the Black Death, in which Christian Europe was almost completely destroyed and played no major role in future history. Also in Michael Crichton's book Timeline, a character is transported through time to a city that is apparently affected by the Black Death.
Temple of the Winds, the fourth book in the fantasy series The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind, centers around a plague that is very similar to the Black Death.
Melanie Rawn's fantasy novel, Dragon Prince, shows how a plague-like epidemic affects nobility somewhat less that commoners.
It has been alleged (since 1961) that the Black Death inspired one of the most enduring nursery rhymes in the English language, Ring a Ring O'Roses, a pocket full of posies, / Ashes, ashes (or ah-tishoo ah-tishoo), we all fall down. However, there are no written records of the rhyme before the late 19th century and not all of its many variants refer to ashes, sneezing, falling down or anything else that could be connected to the Black Death.
The relatively new medium of film has given writers and film producers an opportunity to portray the plague with more visual realism. One of the best known and most expansive depictions of the black plague as art is the movie classic The Seventh Seal, a 1957 film directed by Ingmar Bergman. The knight returns from the Crusades and finds that his home country is ravaged by the Black Death. To his dismay, he discovers that Death has come for him too. The final scene of The Seventh Seal depicts a kind of Danse Macabre. The 1988 science fiction film The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey portrayed a group of 14th-century English villagers who dig a tunnel to 20th-century New Zealand, with the aid of a boy's vision, to escape the Black Death.
The Black Metal band 1349 is named after the year the Black Death spread through Norway.
"Danse Macabre" by The Faint is a techno dance song about the Black Death.