A Journal of the Plague Year Paperback – 29 May 2003
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"Within the texture of Defoe's prose, London becomes a living and suffering being."
"Within the texture of Defoe''s prose, London becomes a living and suffering being." (Peter Ackroyd)
"Within the texture of Defoe's prose, London becomes a living and suffering being." (Peter Ackroyd)
About the Author
Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) had a variety of careers including merchant, soldier, secret agent, and political pamphleteer. He wrote economic texts, history, biography, crime, and most famously fiction, including Robinson Crusoe, Moll Flanders and Roxana. Cynthia Wall is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Virginia.
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Top Customer Reviews
I first read this book in the early 1970s as a work of fiction because it has been classified as such since the 19th century, and I found the "plot" dull. When I read it again twenty years later I realized why - this book isn't fiction at all, it is a factual account of what happened in London in 1665, based on his uncle Henry Foe's eyewitness experience, which is blended with Defoe's journalistic research after the event. The result is a marvellous work of journalism that has the vividness of an eyewitness account, taking the reader right into the events, and the mastery of Defoe's talent and research of the whole subject. The eyewitness account is turned into a most vivid masterpiece.
If you try to read the Journal of the Plague Year as fiction it will seem dated because it can't satisfy as such. It doesn't have any of the effects that go with fiction such as plot, fantasy, author's whim, or character development. However it is beautifully constructed.
The Journal of the Plague Year is a great work of journalism and is (as far as I know) the most vivid account of any historic event in English. It is great to read and browse in as well.
The book doesn't just centre on the streets of London but travels into the surrounding countryside, remember even places like Walthamstow were at the time considered to be outside London, and very much the countryside.
During it's worst months, thousands of people, both infected and not, were attempting an escape to what they thought was the safety of the country, only to be confronted with pitch-fork wielding locals at the village gates telling them to go away in no uncertain terms. But of course even these people succumbed in the end.
This is not a pleasant read, what with Plague pit descriptions, stories of babies suckling the breasts of their long-dead mothers, and in-depth descriptions of the symptoms.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The actual book itself isn't something I liked at all, but the book arrived promptly.Published on 22 July 2014 by Kitty Lai