Intimacy, Survival, and Resistance: Daniel Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year


Reading Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year alongside Hobbes's Leviathan allows us to rethink the narrative of the division of society into private and public spheres and the political contribution of the novel as a genre. This paper analyses Hobbes's attempt to remove all private sources of authority, including personal revelation, in favour of the public authority of the sovereign. It then argues that Defoe, far from countering this move by valorizing the individual, presents us with an intimate social space which is irreducible to the public or the private spheres and which is not covered by the social contract.