The Life of Daniel Defoe: A Critical Biography (Wiley by John Richetti

By John Richetti

The lifetime of Daniel Defoe examines the whole diversity of Defoe’s writing within the context of what's identified approximately his lifestyles and opinions.

  • Features prolonged and certain commentaries on Defoe’s political, spiritual, ethical, and financial journalism, in addition to on all of his narrative fictions, together with Robinson Crusoe
  • Places emphasis on Defoe’s distinct type and rhetoric
  • Situates his paintings in the exact old situations of the eighteenth-century during which Defoe used to be a huge and energetic participant
  • Now on hand in paperback


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Extra resources for The Life of Daniel Defoe: A Critical Biography (Wiley Blackwell Critical Biographies)

Example text

Vertue’s the faint green-sickness of the times, The luscious vice gives spirit to all our rhimes. In vain the sober thing inspir’d with wit, Writes hymns and histories from sacred writ; But let him blasphemy and baudry write, The pious and the modest both will buy’t. The blushing virgin’s pleas’d, and loves to look, And plants the poem next to her prayer-book. Defoe, “Reformation of Manners, A Satyr” Like other men and women, Defoe had affections and passions, and much of what his many biographers present as his interior life obviously took place in something like the narrative they offer.

P. 78) Defoe is not, in this section of An Essay at least, simply making proposals or offering projects; he is evoking the conditions and the characters who provoke those proposals. Like any satirist, he relishes on one level the deplorable conditions that he renders so vividly. These entertaining rascals in the Mint or the Friars are negative examples, of course, hardened and cynical manipulators of a system Defoe hates, but they are also irresistible material for his mimicry and part of the specifically imaginative quality that shines through in parts of his first book.

The Diver shall walk at the bottom of the Thames; the Saltpeter-Maker shall Build Tom T–ds Pond into Houses; the Engineers Build Models and Windmills to draw Water, till Funds are rais’d to carry it on, by Men who have more Money than Brains, and then good night Patent and Invention; the Projector has done his business and is gone. (pp. 17–18) 33 Projects, Dissent, Poems Even in so soberly ambitious a work as An Essay, Defoe is often enough a comic and satirical writer, who balances his enthusiasm for certain kinds of honest projecting with a sense of the prevailing dangers of fraud that feeds on modern greed and dreams of instant riches peculiar to the commercial age.

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