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The Storm

Daniel Defoe

Book Overview: 

The Storm holds a special place in the writings of Daniel Defoe. Widely considered a founding document of modern journalism, The Storm narrates the calamitous events of November 1703 that are framed by the author in the first four chapters. These are followed by verbatim eyewitness accounts, solicited from survivors through a newspaper advertisement that Defoe placed shortly after the hurricane struck.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I draw,
I'm in the Limbus of the Law.
Let me be where I will I heard the Storm,
From every Blast it eccho'd thus, REFORM;
I felt the mighty Shock, and saw the Night,
When Guilt look'd pale, and own'd the Fright;
And every Time the raging Element
Shook London's lofty Towers, at every Rent20
The falling Timbers gave, they cry'd, REPENT.
I saw, when all the stormy Crew,
Newly commission'd from on high,
Newly instructed what to do,
[Pg 4] In Lowring, Cloudy, Troops drew nigh:
They hover'd o'er the guilty Land,
As if they had been backward to obey;
As if they wondred at the sad Command,
And pity'd those they shou'd destroy.
But Heaven, that long had gentler Methods tried,30
And saw those gentler Methods all defied,
Had now resolv'd to be obey'd.
The Queen, an Emblem of the soft, still, Voice,
Had told the Nation how to make their Choice;Read More

Community Reviews

I love this book but I would not necessarily recommend it to everyone. If, however, you like eighteenth-century disaster stories, particularly with a lot of death, then this book is for you!

A very early example of disaster journalism. The Penguin version has a lengthy introduction by Richard Hamblyn, who wrote a delightful book called The Invention of Clouds. I found the introduction much more readable than Defoe's text.
The listing of disasters with the falling chimneys and the flying

Account of a hurricane in late November of 1703 (early December according to the Gregorian calendar- apparently England still went off the Julian calendar sometimes at that point). Could have been half the length if it weren’t for inclusion of several firsthand accounts that could have been merely q

It's always difficult for me to review books I have to read for uni.
As a classic work of literature I can see how valuable this is and how it sparks conversation on genre, authenticity and "what even is a novel?"
Defoe does something that hadn't been done before and I can appreciate that. Doesn't me

Wow. Amazing collection of his own observations of the terrible destruction of the storm, which sounds like a tornado/huricane combination from hell, PLUS he asked people of good repute, through newspaper ads, to send him their accounts of storms in their particular towns and villages. With those ad

The Storm is centered on a hurricane that hit England, including London, on November 26–27, 1703. The strongest winds were approximately eighty mph sustained between 1:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., and covered an area 300 miles wide. Defoe experienced the storm first-hand, and tells his account of the impa

The Great Storm of 1703 was significant not only because of its freakish nature, taking place on the verge of winter in the North Atlantic, and the tremendous damage it wrought to English shipping and trade, but to the fact that it likely spawned the whole industry of mass media.

Because of strict pr

Like Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year, a wonderful piece of 18th century journalism. Letters from "witnesses" form part of the account, as does early weather data. How far these were accurate, and how "doctored" they were by Defoe will always be unclear.
Defoe was in trouble with the authorities (a

"But, the treasury of immediate cause is generally committed to nature; and if at any time we are driven to look beyond her, it is because we are out of the way: it is not because it is not in her, but because we cannot find it."

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