Moll Flanders Author:Daniel Defoe Daniel Defoe was born in 1660 in London, the son of James Foe, a butcher. (Defoe added the genteel "De" to his surname somewhere around the age of 40.) He attended Morton's Academy for Dissenters, planning to enter the church, but instead became a hosiery merchant and traveled throughout Europe. His first works were pamphlets, most notably An Es... more »say upon Projects in 1697 and The Shortest Way with Dissenters in 1702. The last pamphlet, a satire that called for the extermination of dissenters, caused him to be imprisoned and pilloried.
Defoe's business activities never really came to fruition, and he spied for Tory statesman Robert Harley form 1704 - 1714, changing his allegiance for not the last time and continued to write pamphlets that, on several occasions, caused him to be imprisoned or accused of libel.
In 1704 Defoe founded a newspaper, The Review, cosidered to be a precursor to The Tatler and The Spectator; it appeared three times weekly and was written mostly by Defoe himself.
In his later years he wrote many works of fiction as well as travel or guide books. His most important novel, the influential Robinson Crusoe, was published in 1719.
Defoe released Moll Flanders in 1722, an extremely prolific year--he also brought out A Journal of the Plague Year; The History of Peter the Great, and Colonel Jack that year.
Moll, born in prison, lives a colorful life and survives by her wits. Her first-person narrative features very modern ideas on the difficulties between the sexes; on the men shortage Moll remarks "...as the market ran very unhappily o n the men's side, I found the women had lost the privilege of saying No." Moll marries five times (once unknowingly to her half brother) sometimes for love but mostly for economy, and bears a multitude of children. Still she brushes herself off after each misfortune and he sense of self-preservation brings her finally to a solid honest life in Virginia.
In his lifetime Defoe produced more than 560 books or pamphlets; he is considered to be the first English author of ghost stories, and some also credit him as the first novelist. Daniel Defoe died in 1731 at his home in Moorfields, England.« less