Conclusion: Recalling the Plague of 1665 in Later Literary Culture

Part of the Early Modern Literature in History book series (EMLH)


When plague struck Marseilles, France, in 1720, lines of communication for Londoners were free and effective enough by way of printed materials that citizens could track the rise of the disease in an array of documents. Sparking worry of an outbreak in London and jolting memories of the city’s dire affliction in 1665, plague on the continent drove Londoners to consider the information available to them to fend off and manage another epidemic in the metropolis. With Londoners clamouring for information about plague, Defoe published A Journal of the Plague Year, a text that brought readers back to 1665. Though published in 1722, 57 years following the 1665 plague in London, A Journal of the Plague Year exists as a testament to the opportunities afforded by early modern print culture to compiling and narrating a story of the illness. Even decades following the outbreak itself—Defoe was only a child in 1665—he was able to narrate a convincing image of the plague.


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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SalemUnited States

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