A JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR

A JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR

3.8 32
by DANIEL DEFOE, J. B. YEATS
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

An excerpt from the Introduction:

TWENTY-FIVE days after the appearance of "Religious Courtship," and forty-nine days after "Moll Flanders," Defoe published, on the 17th of March 1722, "A Journal of the Plague Year: being observations or memorials of the most remarkable occurrences, as well public as private, which happened in London during the last great

Overview

An excerpt from the Introduction:

TWENTY-FIVE days after the appearance of "Religious Courtship," and forty-nine days after "Moll Flanders," Defoe published, on the 17th of March 1722, "A Journal of the Plague Year: being observations or memorials of the most remarkable occurrences, as well public as private, which happened in London during the last great visitation in 1665. Written by a Citizen who continued all the while in London. Never made public before."

Attention was drawn to the Plague of London by the public alarm at the plague at Marseilles in 1720-1. A very large number of books and pamphlets had been published on the outbreak at Marseilles and on the pestilence in general, and Defoe showed his usual skill in seizing upon a subject of general interest and using it for his own purpose. He had already written on this topic in the newspapers, and in the same year he published another excellent narrative of the Plague, which will be found in a later volume; and these works are all that can be said to have survived of the many which were written at this time. In fact, the popular knowledge of the Plague is derived almost wholly from Defoe.

Upon what, then, did Defoe base his narrative?

At the end of the volume appear the initials "H. F.," and it has been suggested that these may be the initials of one of the Foe family. We now know that Defoe had an uncle, Henry Foe, who was born in 1628, and may very well have been in London in 1665. We have no positive information as to what became of this uncle, but he had a sister Mary (of whom we know nothing); and Defoe interpolates in his story the following note: "The author of this journal lies buried in that very ground [Moorfields], being at his own desire, his sister having been buried there a few years before." Beyond this, we are told only that the narrator was a saddler, who lived, with a housekeeper, maid-servant, and two apprentices, "without Aldgate, about midway between Aldgate Church and Whitechapel Bars, on the left hand, or north side, of the street," and that he had an elder brother, who sent his wife and two children to Bedfordshire, and then followed himself. The brother who resolved to stay in London had friends and relations in Northamptonshire, "whence our family first came from," and an only sister in Lincolnshire.

The Foes came from Northamptonshire, but Henry Foe's elder brother died long before the Plague, and the facts, though curious, seem to suggest only that Defoe made use, for purposes of local colouring, of names which were familiar to him. He had himself been married at St Botolph's, Aldgate. Certainly there is nothing in the story to support the statement that it was written by "a citizen who continued all the while in London," unless that citizen be Defoe himself, whose mannerisms abound throughout the book.

The corrected date of Defoe's birth shows that he was about six years of age—not four, as previously supposed—at the date of the Plague; and if, as is very probable, his parents remained in London during the visitation, he would himself remember a good deal of the striking events of this terrible year; and as he grew up the matter would for long be the subject of conversation among those around him. There is mention on several occasions of a friend, Dr Heath, but this character seems to be imaginary, as no doctor of the name can be traced.

Apart from personal recollections and the talk of others, Defoe derived great help from books. He had in his library, "Necessary Directions for the Prevention and Cure of the Plague," 1665, and "Medela Pestilentiæ," 1664; but he also made much use of "London's Dreadful Visitation," 1665 (the weekly bills of mortality), the Rev. Thomas Vincent's "God's Terrible Voice in the City," 1667, and Dr Nathaniel Hodges's "Loimologia," translated by Dr Quincy in 1720. Defoe expressly alludes to Dr Hodges as "one of the most eminent physicians." Hodges, like Defoe, doubted the policy of shutting up infected houses, but, like Defoe, he gave arguments on both sides of the question. He deprecated public fires in the streets.

The "Journal of the Plague Year" is in some respects Defoe's masterpiece; and its realism, which is unsurpassed, caused Dr Mead, the eminent physician of the time, to refer to the book some years afterwards as an authority. According to his wont, Defoe places his story in the mouth of a sober citizen, who describes in his own fashion what he saw and heard around him, and the apparent simplicity of his style adds to, rather than detracts from, the awe-inspiring nature of the catastrophe. As might be expected from a man like the saddler, there are many figures and trivial details, with occasional repetitions; and sometimes the narrator expresses contradictory opinions, as is natural with one whose views respecting remedies or safeguards were modified by constant discussion with others....

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940015064193
Publisher:
Leila's Books
Publication date:
09/06/2012
Series:
Romances and Narratives of Daniel Defoe , #9
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
1 MB

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

A Journal of the Plague Year 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
jlacerra More than 1 year ago
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.
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book ln the world I like lt!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are the real silverstar, then where was our original camp? (+)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She sat down, watching
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*sits*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yep
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I do like getting the sense of how horrid it was and the use of different ways to contain or avoid the infection.it is just incredably redundant.i hear this is just a version of the original.explains the poor text but. If the original is just as repeditive .it desensitizes the impact london truly much have gone thru
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
A plague in today's society would be devastating, and that is the point of this book. It is written as though the accounts were absolutley accurate, and though the editors suggest that this is a novel, there is very little about it that doesn't seem true. It is, though, a difficult read and one that is truly unenjoyable. The concepts are hard to grasp, and the repetition is annoying.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book still gives an excellent picture of the London Plague centuries after it was written. However, this edition suffers from poor proof-reading. There many misplaced words. To give only one example: on page 180 the author trys to speak of the prodigious number of the 'sick' but is hampered by the proof reader who lets the word 'tick' serve in its place. There are perhaps a half dozen times such as this one where too much reliance on Spell Checker jolts the reader out of the story to remind one that this $5.95 edition is no bargain.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read Willowsong's story at spray.book one is at result one,book two is at result two and so on.please rearate and review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can you meet me at secrets result six