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Daniel Defoe and Life Under Lockdownin 1665

Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) has become a media darling recently. And it’s not for writing Robinson Crusoe, the first English novel, at age 59.

It’s for creating the first work of “faction,” that strange hybrid of fact and fiction, in A Journal of the Plague Year. His uncanny parallels to our 2020 coronavirus crisis, written three hundred years ago, have made for a curious bestseller.

According to The Telegraph, several of London’s most popular independent bookshops have run out of copies.

A Journal of the Plague Year purports to be an eyewitness account of London’s Great Plague of 1665. Its author is HF, a London saddler who shelters in place during the epidemic. Here are some of his observations:

The infection started in the East, possibly in China. It devastated Italy before it hit England’s stores. At first, no one in London paid attention.

"But it seems that the Government had a true account of it, and several councils were held about ways to prevent its coming over; but all was kept very private."

Nothing was done until it was too late. “And from the first week of June the infection spread in a dreadful manner.” Panic set in. Many Londoners fled the city.

It's hard to believe he's not writing in the 21st century!

Read more about how Daniel Defoe pioneered two literary forms after the age of 60 on the blog >>

A Journal of the Plague Year cover
The Dover Thrift Edition is sixty cents on Amazon. (This is an affiliate link. Please check out the note below for info.)

September Birthdays

September 13, 1660: Soldier, spy, civet breeder, creator of Robinson Crusoe. Some say Daniel Defoe was born on this day but nobody really knows. Robinson Crusoe, on the other hand, is a well-known contender for the first English novel. Defoe published it at age 59. READ MORE

September 15, 1890: Best-selling mystery author Agatha Christie was born on this day. After age 40, she embraced a second vocation as an archaeologist. Because, why one? READ MORE

September 22, 1958: Happy Birthday, Andrea Bocelli! He paid for voice lessons during law school by singing in a piano bar. Luckily, his legal career was short-lived. Andrea released his first album at age 36, late by recording-industry standards. And he never let blindness stop him from doing anything. READ MORE

Very Special Announcement!

Recently, Later Bloomer's 10th Anniversary whispered to me while the world was in lockdown and my beloved kitty Leto lost his battle with a rare disease.

For weeks, I argued with it about silly projects and more important things, but it was insistent. "You know, not every project needs to be a bestseller or even cutting-edge," it said. "Sometimes it's enough to create something inspiring and lovely." Which is all I've ever wanted to do. What about you?

So I've started creating a print "gift" book featuring the best of the blog plus inspiring quotes. It's titled The Later Bloomer Daily Companion: 365 Inspirations to Bloom in Your Own Time.

More info coming soon!


P.S. In complete transparency, I'm raising funds to produce The Later Bloomer Daily Companion through sponsorships and affiliate links, all from items I enjoy myself.

If you use the book links herein or on the blog, Amazon will give me a small commission for anything you buy within one day after clicking. Any support would be appreciated!

Debra Eve (photo)Hello, dear reader. I'm Debra Eve, proud late bloomer and possessor of many passions.

At, I've written about more than 100 people in the arts, humanities, and sciences who followed their creative passions later in life. I know that creativity never gets old and want to inspire your dreams, too.

You can also find Later Bloomer on Instagram and Facebook.

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