Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Geraldine Brooks's Year of Wonders. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Year of Wonders: Introduction
Year of Wonders: Plot Summary
Year of Wonders: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Year of Wonders: Themes
Year of Wonders: Quotes
Year of Wonders: Characters
Year of Wonders: Symbols
Year of Wonders: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Geraldine Brooks
Historical Context of Year of Wonders
Other Books Related to Year of Wonders
- Full Title: Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague
- When Written: 2001
- Where Written: United States
- When Published: 2001
- Literary Period: Contemporary
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Setting: Eyam, England
- Climax: Aphra, driven mad by grief and rage, murders the innocent Elinor Mompellion during a religious gathering.
- Antagonist: The bubonic plague; religious fanaticism; misogyny
- Point of View: Anna Frith, first-person limited
Extra Credit for Year of Wonders
Annus Mirabilis. “Year of Wonders” is the English translation of “Annus Mirabilis,” the title of a poem by John Dryden commemorating 1666, a year marked by catastrophes including the Great Fire of London and the plague that is the focus of this book. While the word “wonder” or “wonderful” has a strongly positive connotation to the modern reader, for Dryden and his seventeenth-century audience it would have had a more oblique meaning, describing things that were extraordinary or beyond comprehension, whether a miracle or a tragedy.
True Story. While most of the novel’s characters, including the protagonist Anna Frith, are fictional, Michael Mompellion is based on a real person, William Mompesson, a charismatic local vicar who persuaded the plague-stricken villagers of Eyam to voluntarily quarantine themselves.