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JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR PT 6

PART 6 The London merchant "H.F." continues his account by puzzling over the way the infection behaves & looking at different methods of warding it off & screening for it. Here I ought to leave a remark for posterity that it was not from s [...]

JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR PT 5

PART 5 In this extract Defoe's narrator argues against the use of lockdown to prevent the spread of the plague. He notices that as the infection spreads people take less, not more, notice of the Lord Mayor's restrictions. The government of London ne [...]

JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR PT 4

PART 4 In these extracts life in London becomes increasingly alien. Many behave without care for others, or with a peculiar madness born from desperation. Our narrator is unwillingly appointed an inspector of the lockdown. What a desolate place th [...]

DEFOE'S JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR PT 3

PART 3 In the third part of my twitterised abridgement, lockdown is imposed in London, mass graves are dug and the dreaded dead carts make their appearance. The power of shutting people up in their own houses was a method first taken in 1603 & [...]

DEFOE'S JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR PT 2

#DEFOE'S JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR PART 2 As abridged for Twitter In these extracts, as the Plague begins to grip more tightly, places of entertainment are closed, there is a large increase in spurious and superstitious cures, & the people of [...]

DEFOE'S JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR PT 1

#A JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR The text of my abridgement which appeared on my Twitter-feed in 300-character bites at least daily between 1 April and 1 July. Introduction The extraordinary book first appeared in 1722 and takes the form of a first-p [...]

POETRY IN LOCKDOWN: 24

Written between her late teens and her late twenties Emily Bronte’s poems offer plenty of material for psychological analysis. Many are connected to the Gondal project that Emily elaborated with her sister Anne: a romantic history of imaginary island [...]

POETRY IN LOCKDOWN: 23

It isn’t only with irony that poets convey something different from what they appear to be saying, and this reflects human experience. Our words often tug one way while our thoughts strain in the other direction. Or, sometimes, contrary feelings are [...]

POETRY IN LOCKDOWN: 22

The stock of poet Sir Thomas Wyatt has risen greatly since he popped up in Wolf Hall and its sequels, Hilary Mantel’s wildly successful novels about Thomas Cromwell. Wyatt was a courtier-diplomat, a protegé of Cromwell, but also close to the Boleyn f [...]

POETRY IN LOCKDOWN: 21

Just to return to Byron for a moment: despite his louche style of life this was an enormously busy poet who wrote numerous long pieces now very rarely read (Beppo, Manfred, The Bride of Abydos, Lara, The Siege of Corinth etc.). But his greatest work [...]
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