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Moll Flanders (Modern Library Classics) by…
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Moll Flanders (Modern Library Classics) (original 1722; edition 2002)

by Daniel Defoe, Virginia Woolf (Introduction)

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4,83873957 (3.51)254
Member:CGlanovsky
Title:Moll Flanders (Modern Library Classics)
Authors:Daniel Defoe
Other authors:Virginia Woolf (Introduction)
Info:Modern Library (2002), Edition: Modern Library, Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Read & Owned, Your library (inactive)
Rating:***
Tags:England, Anglophone, Germanic Language, British, 1001, 18th Century, Modern Library

Work details

Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe (1722)

  1. 40
    Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (roby72)
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    Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor (joririchardson)
    joririchardson: Both books are the tales of unscrupulous women doing whatever they can to succeed.
  3. 31
    Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (flissp, Booksloth)
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» See also 254 mentions

English (66)  French (2)  Portuguese (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  Piratical (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (73)
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
We get a real taste of old England. Very well written in the King's English. If you are a little unsure about the subject matter, the great writing will make you happy you picked up the book. The leading character always has your sensibilities uppermost in her mind, so no worries. ( )
  Benedict8 | Jul 16, 2014 |
For a book published in 1722, this sure was smutty! It was a good reminder that the Victorian Era prudery was not in full force until Queen Victoria. This is the story of Moll Flanders, a first person account of the life of a woman who lives a life of debauchery and crime in the mid-1600s. Midway through the book, Moll sums up her life thus as she contemplates marrying yet another man who thinks her a good sort:

"What an abominable creature am I! and how is this innocent gentleman going to be abused by me! How little does he think, that having divorced a whore, he is throwing himself into the arms of another! that he is going to marry one that has lain with two brothers, and has had three children by her own brother! one that was born in Newgate, whose mother was a whore, and is now a transported thief! one that has lain with thirteen men, and has had a child since he saw me! Poor gentleman!"

Well, Moll does go on to hide her past successfully and marry this man, have 2 more kids, and marry another man after he dies. Oh, and she turns to stealing when she gets too old to attract more husbands.

There are some interesting themes to consider in this book, especially the limited options that a woman had in those days to earn her keep. Overall, I didn't love this book though. Because it's written in first person, we only see Moll's experiences of how she attracts and marries men and there are almost no other characters. In this respect, the book was a bit too narrow for me. There are also some threads that are lost - like the many children Moll has that seem to just be conveniently forgotten with no mention of who takes care of them.

But then again, considering the time period it was written in, that it is an early example of the novel, and the interesting fact that a man chose to write a first person woman's voice, it was kind of fun to read. And there are some great quotes.

"I began . . . to have the scandal of a whore, without the joy" ( )
  japaul22 | Jun 17, 2014 |
This look at the lower classes of the late 1600s is surprisingly easy to read (much easier than Defoe's more famous classic Robinson Crusoe). Moll is not an amoral woman, but her morals are flexible. Despite her sometimes criminal behavior, I found her a sympathetic character. ( )
  leslie.98 | May 16, 2014 |
Davina Porter does a marvelous narration. Since the book is written in the first person, she has become Moll to me! ( )
  leslie.98 | May 16, 2014 |
Got me top grade in English Literature exam ( )
  Elder_Adok | Mar 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
Defoe Complicates Ethics in Early Novels: Developing Moral Tolerance in 18th C. London
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» Add other authors (83 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Daniel Defoeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rexroth, KennethAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
My true name is so well known in the records or registers at Newgate, and in the Old Bailey, and there are some things of such consquence still depending there, relating to my particular conduct, that it is not to be expected I should set my name or the account of my family to this work; perhaps after my death it may be better known; at present it would not be proper, no, not though a general pardon should be issued, even without exception of persons or crimes.
Quotations
So certainly does interest banish all manner of affection, and so naturally do men give up honour and justice, humanity, and even Christianity, to secure themselves.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
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 weight in gold; and such matters as bigamy, incest, theft, and prostitution occasion but a brief blush before they are reckoned n terms of profit and loss.
Yet so pure is her candor, so healthy her animal appetites, so indomitable her resiliency through every vicissitude of fortune, that this extraordinary wench emerges as far more than a prototype of the mercantile mind.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140433139, Paperback)

The recent adaptation of Moll Flanders for Masterpiece Theater is a book-lover's dream: the dialogue and scene arrangement are close enough to allow the viewer to follow along in the book. The liberties taken with the tale are few (some years of childhood between the gypsies and the wealthy family are elided; Moll is Moll throughout the tale, rather than Mrs. Betty; Robert becomes Rowland, etc.) and the sets avoid the careless anachronism of the movie version released earlier this year.

The breasts, raised skirts, tumbling hair and heavy breathing on the small screen might catch you by surprise if you don't read the book carefully (as might Moll's abandonment of her children on more than one occasion). Unlike his near-contemporary John Cleland (_Fanny Hill_), Defoe was trying to keep out of jail, and so didn't dwell on the details of "correspondence" between Moll and her varied lovers. But on the page and on the screen, Moll comes across quite clearly as a woman who might bend, but refuses to break, and who is intent on having as good a life as she can get.

E. M. Forster in Aspects of the Novel considers Moll and her creator's art in some detail. While he finds much to criticize in Defoe's ability to plot (where did those last two children go, anyway?), he is as besotted with Moll as I am. Immoral? Sure -- but immortal, and never, ever dull. We hope at least a few of the viewers of the recent adaptation take a couple hours to discover the original, inimitable Moll Flanders.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:45 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Defoe's eighteenth-century picaresque novel of a woman's eventual escape from the life of immorality and wickedness imposed on her by society since her birth.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 15 descriptions

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