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Daniel Defoe had an eventful and adventurous life as a merchant, politician, spy and literary hack. He is one of the eighteenth century's most lively, innovative and important authors, famous not only for his novels, including Robinson Crusoe, Moll Flanders, and Roxana, but for his extensive work in journalism, political polemic and conduct guides, and for his pioneering 'Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain'. This volume surveys the wide range of Defoe's fiction and non-fiction, and assesses his importance as writer and thinker. Leading scholars discuss key issues in Defoe's novels, and show how the man who was once pilloried for his writings emerges now as a key figure in the literature and culture of the early eighteenth century.
This multifaceted picture of the British novel in its formative decades provides an indispensable guide for students of the eighteenth-century novel, and its place within the culture of its time. Drawing on new research in social and political history, the twelve contributors to this Companion challenge and refine the traditional view of the novel's origins and purposes. Sentimental and Gothic fiction, and fiction by women, are discussed, alongside detailed readings of work by Defoe, Swift, Richardson, Henry Fielding, Sterne, Smollett and Burney.
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