Moll Flanders

ISBN-10: 0192805355

ISBN-13: 9780192805355

Edition: 2011

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'Twelve Year a Whore, fives times a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest, and died a Penitent'So the title page of this extraordinary novel describes the career of the woman known as Moll Flanders, whose real name we never discover. And so, in a tour-de-force of writing by the businessman, political satirist, and spy Daniel Defoe, Moll tells her own story, a vivid and racy tale of a woman's experience in the seamy side of life in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century England and America. Born in Newgate prison, and seduced in the home of her adoptive family, she learns to liveoff her wits, defying the traditional depiction of women as helpless victims. First published in 1722, and one of the earliest novels in the English language, its account of opportunism, endurance, and survival speaks as strongly to us today as it did to its original readers.
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Book details

List price: $6.99
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 2/10/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 416
Size: 5.00" wide x 7.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.792
Language: English

Defoe was born Daniel Foe, the son of a London chandler. He changed his surname in 1703, adding the more genteel "De" before his own name to suggest a higher social standing. Long considered the father of the novel, Defoe should in all fairness share parentage with Aphra Behn and other lesser-known writers, and yet it is undeniable that, with the appearance of the immediately successful Robinson Crusoe (1719) and Moll Flanders (1722), the interior consciousness of the individual was explored in ways entirely new and the landscape of British literature was peopled as never before with a striking diversity of character and incident. Although Robinson Crusoe, with its realistic narrative of isolation and independence, is probably better known to young readers, many students prefer Moll Flanders for its dazzling yet troubling recollection of a lifetime in the London underworld, told from the point of view of a reformed criminal. Since Defoe wrote an enormous amount on all sorts of topics and since he could become a notable ironist on occasion it is difficult to know how seriously he meant readers to take the artfulness of his seeming nuances and the sincerity of Moll's late religious conversion. Nonetheless, Defoe's uniquely realistic detail, fostered by a career in journalism, and his compassionate sense of the individual courage needed to prosper in a society that was much harsher than our own, remain a legacy to later eighteenth-century novelists, and to generations of readers ever since. Notable among his other works are the novels Roxana (1724), Captain Singleton (1720), and Colonel Jack (1722).

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