Daniel Defoe: A Journal of the Plague Year

(728 words)
  • Penny Pritchard (University of Hertfordshire)

A Journal of the Plague Year is unique among Defoe’s fictional works, not least because its narrative and structure are arranged around the unfolding historical events of London’s 1665 Great Plague. It could indeed be argued that Plague Year’s protagonist is not ‘H.F.’, the Aldgate saddler and Dissenter [q.v] who narrates the text, but is in fact London itself, manifested in the myriad portraits of its suffering inhabitants as they do battle with the epidemic. What is certain is that H.F. is an avid, indeed compulsive, chronicler of the horrors of the disease; his story is related in a direct, visually detailed and journalistic style that is immediately reminiscent of Defoe’s best works of non-fiction (see, for …

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Pritchard, Penny. "A Journal of the Plague Year". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 October 2003
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=4282, accessed 01 October 2016.]