A Journal of the Plague Year

written by a citizen who continued all the while in London

Cover image for

Download


Author: Daniel Defoe
Published: 1722
Language: English
Wordcount: 95,464 / 263 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 31.2
LoC Category: PR
Audiobook: www.archive.org
Downloads: 3,396
Added to site: 2007.06.05
mnybks.net#: 17188
More Info: en.wikipedia.org

A fictionalised account of one man's experiences of the year 1665, in which the Great Plague struck the city of London.

Show Excerpt

od with my safety and health, was the strongest repulse to my pretensions of losing my trade and my goods; 'for', says he, 'is it not as reasonable that you should trust God with the chance or risk of losing your trade, as that you should stay in so eminent a point of danger, and trust Him with your life?'

I could not argue that I was in any strait as to a place where to go, having several friends and relations in Northamptonshire, whence our family first came from; and particularly, I had an only sister in Lincolnshire, very willing to receive and entertain me.

My brother, who had already sent his wife and two children into Bedfordshire, and resolved to follow them, pressed my going very earnestly; and I had once resolved to comply with his desires, but at that time could get no horse; for though it is true all the people did not go out of the city of London, yet I may venture to say that in a manner all the horses did; for there was hardly a horse to be bought or hired in the whole city for so

Reviews

Average Rating of 4 from 1 reviews: ****
2013.12.18
Madden
****.

Reading these old books on an iPhone or Kindle can sometimes be challenging because they are arranged in such an old fashioned way. With this one you have to navigate an introduction that more or less slates Defoe as a writer, something which is almost analogous to a critic suggesting that the war photography of Don McCullin is too hand held and not high enough quality for Vogue Magazine.

The introduction does not actually prepare you for what is to come and worse — it suggests that only children and kitchen wenches will enjoy Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe. So having navigated this scathing introduction what do we find?

Whether or not Defoe read any other accounts of the plague (and what if he had?) — please suspend your disbelief and judgement. There are no chapters, it is one intense rambling and often repetitive story of unmitigating, relentless horror — some parts of which will make you uneasy in your bed. The descriptions of the daily scenes outside Defoe's window are mesmerisingly sickening in places. Defore also honestly reveals that he is a voyeur of the grotesque and has to go to a pit at night in order to see exactly what happens to the dead. For that passage alone this is an important read.

Because I have walked all these streets writing my guide to the City of London (this is a main reason I read Defoe's account) the book has a remarkable prophetic quality, almost as if it could happen again as the medieval layout is exactly the same as it was in 1665. Defoe even says at several points words to the effect of 'If this does happen again I advise you to buy strong locks for the inside of your doors and windows and stock up on three months food, water and ale'. In fact Danny Boyle should consider making a near future filmnoir using this book as a template, he could call it '28 Decades Later'.

Defoe also discusses his own fear of death, he initially thinks too much of the pros and cons of leaving the city but then finds that the plague rages around him so fiercely he may stand a better chance of survival if he never leaves the house. He also chastises with logical force those arrogant survivors who bragged about how they 'stuck it out' and that those who left to starve for three months sleeping on leaves under a sheet in a forest were somehow — inferior human beings. At one point he describes how a few arrogant drunks mocked the dying — but were all lying in a plague pit a week later.

If you are feeling glum and unhappy with your lot, I urge you to read this book as fast as you can.

And then admire your iphone, your Kindle, your colour television, your fully fitted kitchen and your car, caravan and speedboat. Admire your fine wardrobe,the luxury of central heating and your dvd collection. Give thanks that you are not scared to walk the streets and talk to people no matter how strange because contact may kill you within an hour.

And lastly give the most almighty thanks that you are not a person living in London in August and September 1665 who was nine months pregnant. For that is the ghastliest and most heartbreaking part of this book and will destroy your selfish self pity with a snap so ferocious — it might break your neck.

Yes — its the most terrifying book I have ever read.


SUBSCRIBE TO MANYBOOKS 

FREE EBOOKS 

Join 120,000+ fellow readers! Get Free eBooks and book bargains from ManyBooks in your inbox. 

We respect your email privacy

(Promote your book here)

Featured Books

Cover image for A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe - Free eBook

The Titan Drowns: Time Travel Romance

New Atlantis Time Travel Romance Book 6
Nhys Glover

2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER

"Heroism and... Read more

Cover image for A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe - Free eBook

Valkyrie's Vengeance

Loki's Wolves Book 0
Melissa Snark

Fans of paranormal and urban fantasy will enjoy... Read more

Cover image for A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe - Free eBook

Helga: Out of Hedgelands

Wood Cow Chronicles Book 1
Rick Johnson

VOLUME ONE in the WOOD COW CHRONICLES series. <... Read more

Cover image for A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe - Free eBook

Chausiku

Nightmare of the Clans Book One
Pamela E. Cash

There are six secret clans across the world–Afr... Read more

Cover image for A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe - Free eBook

Mademoiselle At Arms

A Georgian Romance
Elizabeth Bailey

Set in the late Georgian era, Elizabeth Bailey’... Read more

Cover image for A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe - Free eBook

The Tales of Tim Hurtletuta - New Beginnings

Tales of Tim Hurtletuta Series, Book 1
Matthew James Wilkins

"Tim Hurtletuta has forgotten something. He can... Read more

Cover image for A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe - Free eBook

After the Cure

Deirdre Gould

Eight years ago the December Plague swept throu... Read more

Cover image for A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe - Free eBook

The Unveiling

Book One (Age of Faith 1)
Tamara Leigh

12th century England: Two men vie for the thron... Read more

Cover image for A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe - Free eBook

Healing Her Heart

Crystal Lake Series Book 1
Laura Scott

Dr. Gabe Allen has a rule about dating colleagues... Read more

Cover image for A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe - Free eBook

Never A Choice

The Choices Trilogy #1
Dee Palmer

Bethany Thorne has secrets and she’s told a few... Read more

(advanced)
login | register

User ID

Password

reset password

Help ManyBooks by sharing this page!

See it as donating a moment of your social media time, every little thing helps us improve and stay online.

Popular in This Genre

The list of books below is based on the weekly downloads by our users regardless of eReader device or file format.

War and Peace
by Leo Tolstoy
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
by Arthur Conan Doyle
The ''Genius''
by Theodore Dreiser
Clarimonde
by Théophile Gautier
Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
The Secret Adversary
by Agatha Christie
Moby Dick
by Herman Melville
The King's Daughters
by Emily Sarah Holt
Anna Karenina
by Leo Tolstoy

See more popular titles from this genre.