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The Consolidator by Daniel Defoe
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The Consolidator (1705)

by Daniel Defoe

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There is a little-known book by Daniel Defoe, called The Consolidator. I have a copy of the first edition, 'Printed and to be Sold by Benj. Bragg at the Blue Ball in Ave-mary-lane, 1705.' It is an account of a journey to the moon, and a beautiful example of Defoe's skill in producing an effect of truth. No one in 1705 would believe a story of a traveller who claimed to have flown directly from Fleet Street to the moon. So Defoe's supposed traveller goes abroad; he goes to Germany, and that, in 1705, is already a long way from home: from Germany he goes to Russia where anything may happen; from Russia he goes to China, and by that time the final step from China to the moon seems little more than a crossing of the street. Well, I should have preferred China as being further away [from his wife], but it did seem to me that Russia would do very well as a first stepping-stone to escape. In those days [1913] it was possible to go almost anywhere in Europe without papers, but for Russia a passport was necessary, and that fact alone seemed likely to discourage pursuit.

Rupert Hart-Davis (ed.), The autobiography of Arthur Ransome, ch. 17.
  ArthurRansome | Sep 23, 2013 |
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