For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. A continuous programme of new titles and revised editions ensures that the series retains its breadth and reflects the latest critical ideas. Comprehensive introductions, clear explanatory notes, chronologies, and bibliographies support the classic texts. In addition, many Oxford World's Classics include fascinating and useful related material such as maps, glossaries, indexes, illustrations, and appendices.
Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year
The current global pandemic is considered by many as something out of the ordinary and unprecedented. But when we look back over human history, we learn that this is not our first time facing a mortal outbreak. Nothing has killed more people than infectious disease.
From Thucydides and Boccaccio to Camus, the works of plague literature offer parallels for readers today and give us words to live by. Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year (1722), a vivid autofiction account of the devastation wrought on the cIty of London by the bubonic plague in 1655 and which killed an estimated 100,000 people in 18 months, might be the author’s most under-appreciated great novel. Published more than 50 years after the events, the Journal is not a first-hand record, but describes a world beleaguered by a virus, with graphic narratives of events, anecdotes, and statistics. The plight of Londoners 355 years ago and the crisis that grips the world today have staggering similarities. Find out how our unprecedented times are not so unprecedented, capitalize on the knowledge gained from past experiences, and reflect on how to navigate COVID-19.
June 17, 2020