Letter: Epidemic disease under control

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Sir: You cite Daniel Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year (leading article, 1 October) as if it were an accurate eye-witness account. This illustrates what an excellent writer the man was. Actually, it is fiction, or perhaps we would call it 'faction' nowadays.

The journal was published in 1722, 57 years after the events depicted. Defoe may have been in London in 1665 as a small child, but it is unlikely that he was allowed to walk the streets as his narrator does, hearing the 'baleful cries of Londoners'.

Yours faithfully,

DAVID CUTTING

Mackworth,

Derbyshire

3 October

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