As Moll Flanders struggles for survival amid the harsh social realities of seventeenth-century England, there is but one snare she is determined to avoid - the deadly snare of poverty. On the twisting path that leads from her birth in Newgate prison to her final prosperous respectability, love is regarded as worth no more than its weght in gold; and such matters as bigamy, incest, theft, and prostitution occasion but a brief blush before they are reckoned in terms of profit and losss. Yet so pure is her candor, so healthy her animal appetites, so indomitable her resilience through every vicissitude of fortune, that this extraordinary wench emerges as far more than a prototype of the mercantile mind. In "Moll Flanders" Defoe added a fresh dimension to the art of writing. "We seem to see Defoe's characters through the crytal-clear medium of his style with perfect verisimilitude, as real as if we saw them in a mirror that was so flawless that it was invisible, " writes Kennth Rexroth. Virginia Woolf ranked "Moll Flanders" as "among the few English novels which we can call indisputably great."
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"A very helpful edition of Moll Flanders with its informative introduction and especially its thorough endnotes. It is an edition especially helpful for undergraduates who do not have such a broad knowledge of the 18th century laws, social problems, etc."--Judith B. Slagle. Carson-Newman College
"Excellent edition has all of the necessary 'extras': introduction and notes, both reflecting excellent scholarship." --Arline Garbarini, Dominican College
Born to a petty thief in London's notorious Newgate prison and determined to make her way in a rapacious and materialistic society, Moll Flanders recounts the "fortunes and misfortunes" of her turbulent life in this 1722 novel. Though Moll Flanders was shaped by the conventions of criminal biography, Defoe also drew on other literary traditions and his own rich background to create a remarkably original--and still controversial--work.
In addition to a critical introduction and substantial footnotes, this Broadview edition provides a wide range of writings by Defoe as well as contemporary responses to Moll Flanders. Other appendices include a selection of eighteenth-century writings on crime, prisons, and the Virginia colony.
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