A Journal of the Plague Year

by Daniel Defoe
List(s):"Carp 500"
Category: "Fiction - Historical"
Year of Publication:1722
Date Read:02/08/1997
Notes:An account of the Great Plague of London in 1664-65. Narrated by H. F., an inhabitant of London who purportedly was an eyewitness to the devastation that followed the outbreak of bubonic plague. While fiction, the book very accurately recreates the historical facts of the plague.

COMMENTS — Daniel Defoe was a pamphleteer, a travel writer, a novelist and an intelligence agent for Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford.
My Rating: 7

Reviews for A Journal of the Plague Year

Review - A Journal of the Plague Year

Posted by: Kelli Wick
3/16/2004 1:26:04 PM

As IF you are going to want to actually pick up this book at the store when so many happier titles are calling out your name, but this book is not all that bad. This is a fictional account of the Great Plague of 1665, when DeFoe was just a child. Although his account is fictional, DeFoe does a good job of recreating the time and, although he gets a little long-winded, it does keep your interest.

I couldn't help but laugh when I got to the passage about the dead carts. Why, you ask? Because what movie do you immediately think of when you hear the word "dead carts?" Yes, that's right, apparently somebody from Monty Python and the Holy Grail read this book. At one point, the dead carts come around, with the attendant yelling: "Bring out your dead!" And then the paragraph:
"From hence they passed along and took in other dead bodies, till, as honest John Hayward told me, they almost buried him alive in the cart; yet all this while he slept soundly. At length the cart came to the place where the bodies were to be thrown into the ground, which, as I do remember, was at Mount Mill; and as the cart usually stopped some time before they were ready to shoot out the melancholy load they had in it, as soon as the cart stopped the fellow awaked and struggled a little to get his head out from among the dead bodies, when, raising himself up in the cart, he called out, 'Hey! where am I?' This frighted the fellow that attended about the work; but after some pause John Hayward, recovering himself, said, 'Lord, bless us! There's somebody in the cart not quite dead!' So another called to him and said, 'Who are you?' the fellow answered, 'I am the poor piper. Where am I?' 'Where are you?' says Hayward. 'Why, you are in the dead-cart, and we are going to bury you.' 'But I an't dead though, am I?' says the piper, which made them laugh a little..."

Approximate Reading Time: 6-9 hours
Average Rating: 7 (7 readers)

What to Do While Reading the Book to Make It More Interesting: Watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail and work on your British accent so you can properly say: "I'm not quite dead yet!"
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