Daniel Defoe, Grifting Fact
The integration of literary studies with technology allows for new discoveries within English studies. Databases such as Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) and Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Collection of Newspapers (BURNEY) enable researchers to identify nuanced distinctions between fact and fiction. By examining the sources made available in these collections Daniel DeFoe’s book A Journal Of A Plague Year becomes not only a construct of the 1665 London plague but a direct result of the media Defoe had access to in his lifetime. Scholars have long argued Defoe’s work is fiction without factual evidence. We further argue, elements in A Journal of A Plague Year represent the 1665 London Plague by correlating directly to articles written about the plague in Marseille in 1770. The result is an account that reports factual evidence in a fictitious time frame. Our research supports this thesis by providing the link between the novel and newspaper collections available on the ECCO/Burney databases.
Hatch, Marcie and Bringhurst, Tracy, "Daniel Defoe, Grifting Fact" (2016). 2016 Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Conference. Paper 63.