Literary Source

About this source:

These are extracts from the first edition of Daniel Defoe’s literary classic ‘Journal of a Plague Year’, published in 1722. Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) was a merchant in the London hosiery trade, who later became a traveller, writer and journalist. This is fictional account of the survival of one citizen, H.F., from the Great Plague of London in 1665.

Defoe was inspired to write the journal by an outbreak of plague in Marseilles in 1720-1, which also caused serious public alarm in England. His novel was based on information from survivors of the epidemic and he also made use of bills of mortality, government orders against plague and medical works in his account. His attention to detail, use of historical documents and talent as a writer gave his story a convincing authenticity. His journal fooled many later writers into using it as an actual eyewitness account of the Great Plague!

Taken from: Journal of a Plague Year
Creator: Daniel Defoe
Publisher: E. Nutt, London
Date created: 1722
Copyright:  By permission of the British Library Board
Shelfmark: 1167.e.3