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A Journal of the Plague Year

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

London Plague

'A Journal of the Plague Year' is journalistic history, not fiction. Defoe describes an event that happened when he was only an infant. He used family's and other accounts of the last great epidemic of the Black Death to strike England. It is readable and instructive...
'A Journal of the Plague Year' is journalistic history, not fiction. Defoe describes an event that happened when he was only an infant. He used family's and other accounts of the last great epidemic of the Black Death to strike England. It is readable and instructive. To me, the most interesting part of the tale, is the 'knowledge' seventeenth-century Londoners had of this disease [Bubonic Plague, Yersinia pestis] before knowledge of microbes and their transmission. Animals, especially dogs, cats and rats, were identified as possible vectors and shot on sight. Infected people were quarantined in their homes, along with uninfected relatives. Although these homes were guarded by armed watchmen, breakouts from quarantine were common. The disease spead and uninfected villages on the outskirts of London, themselves, set out guards preventing panicked refugees from entering and infecting their town. An interesting and human tale of desperation.

posted by Anonymous on September 11, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Seriously flawed edition

Defoe's novel is fascinating, but this edition's flaws far overshadow the prose. The editors and Barnes & Noble Books should be ashamed of themselves for putting out such a shabby version of the novel. The text is full of typos (such as the previously noted 'tic...
Defoe's novel is fascinating, but this edition's flaws far overshadow the prose. The editors and Barnes & Noble Books should be ashamed of themselves for putting out such a shabby version of the novel. The text is full of typos (such as the previously noted 'tick' for 'sick'), dropped words, incorrect words ('last' instead of 'first' at the bottom of page 234, for example), and bad formatting (the notes). The additional materials¿contemporary descriptions of the plague¿are vaguely interesting, but not essential. Rather than some inconsequential snippets from Pepys and Boghurst, the editors should have considered a map of London at the time of the plague, annotations, or other materials to help illustrate some of Defoe's more difficult references. Avoid this edition and pick up one of the more professional releases from Oxford or Penguin.

posted by Anonymous on June 5, 2005

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  • Posted March 31, 2009

    Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year

    It is certainly not appropriate for me to review Daniel Defoe as if he were a modern author. In this book Defoe takes on the guise of a first-hand observer of the London plague of 1665. The language is Olde English and somewhat difficult to wade through sometimes. But the drama of the crisis does come home in many areas. It is a worthwhile read if one can be patient with the archaic language.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A Jour­nal of the Plague Years by Daniel Defoe is a fic­tional b

    A Jour­nal of the Plague Years by Daniel Defoe is a fic­tional book about the Great Plague of Lon­don in 1665. The book was pub­lished in 1722 (57 years after the event) and was meant as a warn­ing because they thought that plague in Mar­seilles would cross the chan­nel into England.

    A Jour­nal of the Plague Years by Daniel Defoe is a nov­el­iza­tion of a first hand expe­ri­ence dur­ing the Black Death plague in Lon­don. This book is very dif­fi­cult to cat­e­go­rize because the reader doesn’t really know if it is a mem­oir or not.

    Is it fic­tion?
    Doesn’t read like it, from what I read it seems that Defoe fic­tion­al­ized his uncle’s memoirs.

    Is it non-fiction?
    It might be, after all it seems that… Defoe fic­tion­al­ized his uncle’s memoirs.

    What­ever it is, the book gives the reader an eerie, haunt­ing, dark sense of Lon­don in 1665 when the plague ran amok bring­ing a dis­as­ter upon the cap­i­tal. One can get a very good feel­ing of what it was at the time, the peo­ple, and the land­scapes and how peo­ple spoke.

    Much of the book is sta­tis­tics and there is not really a coher­ent sto­ry­line, it is more of a nov­el­iza­tion of a diary and a hand­book of what do and what to avoid dur­ing the deadly out­break. It is sim­ple to read and has an air of under­ly­ing author­ity, espe­cially given the weekly death sta­tis­tics. Defoe issues a stern warn­ing with those death sta­tis­tics, upon close exam­i­na­tion one could tell how fast the virus is spreading.

    This book is best read as his­tor­i­cal fic­tion novel that mixes fact and fic­tion. Defoe was a very young boy (5) at the time of the plague and used mor­tal­ity bills and con­tem­po­rary accounts for the book

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2007

    Great, scary book

    This book lets readers see life during the plague outbreak. It is very interesting, especially to people interested in this topic. Although it should not be considered a first-hand account, the individual obsevations made by the narrator are very probable. The narrator repeats some main points, but that is just to get one message across: life was scary at that time.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2012

    Firescorch

    He as a flameing pelt and orange eyes. " can i join?"

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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