Daniel Defoe Books

Daniel Defoe Robinson Crusoe

Easton Press Daniel Defoe books:
Robinson Crusoe - 1976
A Journal of The Plague Year - 1978
Moll Flanders - 1983

Franklin Library Daniel Defoe books:
Robinson Crusoe - 100 Greatest Books of All Time - 1977
Moll Flanders - 100 Greatest Books of All Time - 1978
Moll Flanders - World's Best Loved Books - 1983
Robinson Crusoe - World's Best Loved Books - 1985

Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe, original surname Foe (1659-1731), was an English journalist and novelist, born in London, and educated in Stoke Newington. He added "De" to his original surname about 1700. He was educated for the Presbyterian ministry, but decided in 1685 to go into business instead. He became a hosiery merchant, and his business gave him frequent opportunities to travel throughout Western Europe. An opponent of The Catholic King James 11, Daniel Defoe took an active part in the rebellion (1685) led by James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, against King James 11. In 1692 Daniel Defoe's business went into bankruptcy, but subsequently he acquired control of a tile and brick factory. He obtained a government post in 1695 and the same year wrote Essay on Projects (1965), a remarkably keen analysis of matters of public concern, such as education of women, highway maintenance, and care of the feeble-minded. Especially noteworthy among his writings during the next several years is the satiric poem The True Born Englishman (1701), an attack on beliefs in racial or national superiority, which was directed particularly toward those Britons who resented the new British sovereign William 111 because he was Dutch. The following year Daniel Defoe published anonymously a tract entitled The Shortest Way with the Dissenters. When Defoe's authorship of the tract was discovered, he was arrested (1703), sentenced to stand in the pillory, and given an indeterminate time in jail. Robert Harley, the Speaker of the House of Commons, secured his release from prison in November, 1704. It is probable that the condition for his release was his agreement to become a secret agent and public propagandist for the government.

During the period of his imprisonment Daniel Defoe's business had been ruined, so he turned to journalism for his livelihood. From 1704 to1713 he issued a tri weekly news journal entitled Review, for which he did most of the writing. Its opinions and interpretations often were independent, but in the main the Review leaned toward the government in power. Daniel Defoe wrote strongly in favor of union with Scotland, and it is possible that his duties as secret agent entailed other activities on behalf of union, which was achieved in 1707. In 1709 he wrote a History of the Union, dedicated to Queen Anne.

Daniel Defoe was sixty years old when he began to write novels. His first and most famous novel is The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719). A fictional tale of a shipwrecked sailor, it is based on the adventures of a seaman, Alexander Selkirk, who had been marooned on the island of Juan Fernandez off the coast of Chile. In simplified form, the novel had become one of the classics of children's literature. More novels followed in rapid succession, including Memoirs of a Cavalier (1720), Captain Singleton (1720), and The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders (1722). The last named work is commonly regarded as one of the great English novels. All of Daniel Defoe's novels reflect in large part his own diverse experiences in many countries and in many walks of life. Besides being in actuality an equally brilliant journalist, novelist, and social thinker, Daniel Defoe was one of the most prolific of English authors,having produced nearly four hundred books and tracts.

Easton Press Robinson Crusoe

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