Journal of Plague Year
Silent, mysterious, lethal, its cause locked in a science yet unborn, the Black Death killed one third of Europe's population with democratic disregard of age, position or entitlement...more
The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label
Essay #62: A Journal of the Plague Year (1722), by Daniel Defoe
The story in a nutshell:
Although not actually written until sixty years later (but more on that in a bi...more
There are many details about parishes affected, official decisions, the frauds deceiving pe...more
‘A Journal of the Plague year’ is a case in point. Although Defoe was alive at the time of plague, this is actual...more
But I would say the best way to avoid the plague and to survive would be to leave the city, as many did, when th...more
This is one of the stranger conglomerations I have ever encountered under the name, “novel.” We’ve got a 1722 fictionalized memoir of London’s 1665 bubonic plague epidemic, how-to-survive-plagues advice and 17th-century public health info, and, my favorite part, philosophical speculation about the outbreak’s causes. It’s pretty safe to say that Defoe has an agenda in this book beyond telling tragic, bubo-filled plague stories, though he tells them very movingly indeed.
Like other pre-19th-centur...more
Daniel defoe is not a only-one-book man (Robinson Crusoe).
It is an aesthete book which one exchanges the name between friends.
What is extraordinary, it is the realism of story. All descriptions are extraordinary. They agree elsewhere with what was described. As of the appearance of the signs, death occurred in a few hours.
the plague is well known since the Middle Ages as an apocalyps. René Girard in "the scapegoat" says that people did not even...more
Between these points chaos reigns supreme. Stories are written together and connected in an entirely associative manner, stories trail off and reappear several pages...more
So, the populace is scared, with reason. And some of them die and others don't, but a lot of people are in the prior category. In fact, the book is full of lists of the number of dead.
Some residents of London hightail it to the countryside, sometimes taking the plague with them and sometimes successfully. A...more
More true to journal form than most fictional journals, the entries are a mix of personal experience, personal observation reflection and medication, second hand stories, and general statistic documentation; as such, I found my interest fluctuated greatly from entry to entry, having personally very little interest in s...more
It is gloomy and depressing as a whole but Defoe manages to occasionally lift the reader's spirits by telling him about the incredible acts of kindnes...more
But if you wish to glimpse daily life under the threat of impending death by disease (without actually being threatened...more
Daniel DeFoe is probably best known for his authorship of the novel, "Robinson Crusoe", and I have read that novel in abridged form years ago as a child. I plan to eventually read "Robinson Crusoe" in unabridged form (in an 1869 edition that I inherited from my grandmother), but not until I finish my current stack, so I decided to read this smaller work of DeFoe until I have time for the larger book.
As a published writer in a time when proto-newspapers were first coming into being in England, De...more
Daniel Defoe is best known for "Robinson Crusoe," but he also authored literally hundreds of others books. This is remarkable since he's one of the earliest writers of novels -- and some say he's the first.
I had no particular interest in the plague when I picked up this book. I'd tried to read "Rats, Lice and History," hadn't gotten very far...more
The bad parts of the plague besides a literal decimation, bur the attendant pain that caused people to roar and scream and go crazy. Childbrith was very deadly, for midwifes and doctors were exposed to plague infected blood routinely, such that the were noone to deliver the babies born in 1665. Most women...more