Daniel Defoe er i dag mest kendt for bogen Robinson Crusoe, men var en uhyre produktiv skribent, der foruden fiktion skrev fagbøger, pamfletter, essays, avisartikler mv., hvoraf en del havde et klart politisk indhold. Ud over skribentvirksomheden forsøgte Defoe sig i flere omgange som købmand, men opnåede aldrig større succes hermed.
Defoes litterære blomstringstid faldt i de sidste godt ti år af hans liv. I 1719 udkom Robinson Crusoe, og rask herefter fulgte bl.a. Captain Singleton, Colonel Jack, Moll Flanders og Roxana foruden den her foreliggende A Journal of the Plague Year – Pestens år.
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