Dr. Jones will be presenting this lecture for us live on Zoom from the U.K., hence the earlier start time.
In this introduction to Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year (1722), Dr. Emrys Jones will seek to give a sense of the work’s underlying strangeness: the difficulty of categorizing it or of identifying exactly why it was written. Is it a novel? Was it helpful as a practical guide for preventing the spread of disease? Or was Defoe more interested in the plague for what it might tell us about communication and miscommunication in times of crisis? By addressing these questions, we can better understand the text’s resonance both in the eighteenth century and in the time of COVID-19.
Dr. Emrys D. Jones is Senior Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture at King’s College London. His book Friendship and Allegiance in Eighteenth-Century Literature (2013) explored the significance of sociability for writers such as Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope. He is co-editor of the academic journal, Literature and History, and hosts the podcast, Pop Enlightenments, which explores representations of the eighteenth century in contemporary popular culture.