Covid 19 and Defoe
Yet those of us fortunate enough to have been granted such a windfall may find ourselves frittering away our days on Sudoku puzzles or Netflix movies, then lying awake at night asking ourselves, “Why am I not getting any writing done?”
Defoe did live in London in 1665 and 1666, but he was only a child at the time. His account of the events, published decades after they took place, is therefore not based on his own observations. Despite this time bias, however, evidence indicates that Defoe founded his narrative on interviews conducted among older friends and family members, and on a close reading of the statistical evidence. It is also telling that Defoe waited until 1722 to write and publish his account of the plague: only two years earlier, a virulent plague epidemic—the first in over five decades in Western Europe—had visited the Mediterranean port of Marseille. His timing suggests that Defoe, besides having a flair for the dramatic, wrote the Journal of the Plague Year as a cautionary tale for the generations to come.