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Spectral Currencies and the Air of Reality in A Journal of the Plague Year

Spectral Currencies and the Air of Reality in A Journal of the Plague Year

Chapter:
(p.111) 5 Spectral Currencies and the Air of Reality in A Journal of the Plague Year
Source:
Air’s Appearance
Author(s):
Jayne Elizabeth Lewis
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226476711.003.0006

This chapter takes a look at the supernatural properties of air as Daniel Defoe wove them into the lexical fabric of his A Journal of the Plague Year. After the publication of Robinson Crusoe, Defoe focused his attention on English air, particularly in relation to the plague of 1665. In fact, his Journal can be certified as a modern piece of atmospheric fiction. The author examines the history of the its reception, and whether it can be counted as history—questioning whether the more graphic portrayals that compose it can be considered either fact or fiction. This is especially important due to the protogothic necropolis overrun with “Apparitions” that Defoe himself writes of in A Journal. As such, it is the question of Defoe’s realism that the chapter aims to possibly expound upon and answer.

Keywords:   plague of 1665, Defoe, protogothic necropolis, Apparitions, Plague Year, English air, Robinson Crusoe, Defoe’s realism

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