Written in a time when criminal biographies enjoyed great success, Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders details the life of the irresistible Moll and her struggles through poverty and sin in search of property and power. Born in Newgate Prison to a picaresque mother, Moll propels herself through marriages, periods of success and destitution, and a trip to the New World and back, only to return to the place of her birth as a popular prostitute and brilliant thief. The story of Moll Flanders vividly illustrates Defoe’s themes of social mobility and predestination, sin, redemption and reward.
This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the 1721 edition printed by Chetwood in London, the only edition approved by Defoe.
About the Author
Daniel Defoe was born Daniel Foe in London in 1660. It was perhaps, ineveitable that Defoe, an outspoken man, would become a political journalist. As a Puritan he believed God had given him a mission to print the truth, that is, to proselytize on religion and politics, and in fact, he became a prolific pamphleteer satirizing the hypocrisies of both Church and State. Defoe admired William III, and his poem The True-Born Englishman (1701) won him the King's friendship. But an ill-timed satire on High Church extremists, The Shortest Way with the Dissenters, published during Queen Anne's reign, resulted in his being pilloried and imprisoned for seditious libel in 1703.
At fifty-nine Defoe turned to fiction, completing The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719), partly based on the saga of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish sailor; Moll Flanders (1722); Colonel Jack (1722); A Journal of the Plague Years (1722); and Roxana or the Fortunate Mistress (1724).
Praise for Moll Flanders…
“Defoe’s excellence it is, to make me forget my specific class, character, and circumstances, and to raise me while I read him, into the universal man.” —Samuel Taylor Coleridge