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Moll Flanders (Bantam Classic) by Daniel…

Moll Flanders (Bantam Classic) (original 1722; edition 1989)

by Daniel Defoe

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,985851,057 (3.5)324
Title:Moll Flanders (Bantam Classic)
Authors:Daniel Defoe
Info:Bantam Classics (1989), Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library, ALPHA by AUTHOR

Work details

Moll Flanders: The Fortunes and Misfortunes by Daniel Defoe (Author) (1722)

  1. 40
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    EerierIdyllMeme: Similar themes in very different societies.

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» See also 324 mentions

English (77)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Portuguese (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  Piratical (1)  All languages (85)
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
One of the first novels in English and division into chapters had obviously not been introduced, which is a little off-putting. But the story flows naturally on and on. Along the way it gives a fascinating insight into life and marriage circa 1700 in the English provinces, in London and in Virginia, among gentlemen and thieves, confidence-tricksters and planters, unwanted children and sailors.
  jgoodwll | Apr 1, 2019 |
This book helped me to understand the perils of being a poor woman in Seventeenth Century London. The character Moll Flanders was born poor and she had no family to support her, therefore her only ways of survival was to get married, sell her body, become a servant at very low wages, or become a thief. She always had to appear to be something that she was not.

It is almost like a travel book because Moll is always moving from town to town, and from life episode to next episode, across the ocean trying to find a place to be herself and not a fake representation of a good woman.

Sometimes the narrator is too detailed and tells more than I needed to know, but it does seem like a woman is speaking, or writing in a journal, even though the book was actually written by a man. I enjoyed reading the book and felt some sympathy for Moll Flanders because of her struggles and her ability to endure. ( )
  HarpersOmah | Mar 19, 2019 |
The Fortunes & Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders (aka Moll Flanders) is a novel by Daniel Defoe, 1st published in 1722. It purports to be the true account of the life of the eponymous Moll, detailing her exploits from birth until old age.
By 1721, Defoe had become a recognised novelist, with the success of Robinson Crusoe in 1719. His political work was tapering off at this point, due to the fall of both Whig & Tory party leaders with whom he had been associated; Robert Walpole was beginning his rise. Defoe was never fully at home with the Walpole group. Defoe's Whig views are nevertheless evident in the story of Moll. The novel's full title gives some insight into this & the outline of the plot: "The Fortunes & Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, &c. Who was Born in Newgate, & during a Life of continu'd Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest, & died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums."
  JESGalway | Feb 12, 2019 |
I am sometimes afraid that we will have nothing to say to each other at our reader discussion groups. Hah! We talked for over an hour and a half about this picaresque classic. How much was to be considered 'true', considering that it was supposedly a memoir of a repentant woman? How could she say so little about her children? Did she exploit her sexuality or just make the best of the society? She confessed to liking the thrill of theft even after she no longer needed more money, trimmed her stories to her circumstances and her audience, barely mentioned the hardships of crossing the Atlantic (I wonder if Defoe ever did?), learned to make and manage money, and in general navigated a society that was not kind to women without status and means. Was Defoe as tuned in to the hardships of women as this book suggests? Or was he more interested in writing a sly, picaresque adventure with the allure of a female protagonist? Did we believe the 'woman's voice'?

Defoe shows us the society of the time, the narrow path between servant and master class in the late 17th century in an urbanizing country as well as a new world. The book is filled with incident - in fact, when Moll has achieved, however temporarily, a quiet life, we hear nothing about it except how it ends. Moll ('not my real name') tells us at the beginning that she ends up in London, secure, married, content, mature, repentant of her sinful life. So the traditional suspense is absent - it was all about how it happened. But it was fun to read, watching her journey and learning about the times. ( )
2 vote ffortsa | Feb 13, 2018 |
Moll Flanders is a strange book. It's a cautionary tale, but it also feels like a sermon on promiscuity and greed. The book follows the life of Moll Flanders from her infancy, being born to a criminal in prison, all the way through her life which also ends in crime.

She grows into a beautiful woman and ends up marrying one man after another. Her horrible circumstances move her from one bad situation to another. One husband dies, another ditches her, and another turns out to be her half-brother! I enjoyed the first half much more than the second. The story’s moralistic tone echoes that in the author’s other famous work, Robinson Crusoe. ( )
  bookworm12 | Apr 20, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
Moll Flanders is an authentic portrait of a prostitute but it is not a neutrally objective one. Indeed, it is a relentless evaluation, a judgment. This judgment is pronounced ironically entirely in the terms of the specific kind of realism Defoe chose to employ. The story is not only based on facts; it consists of almost nothing else... Moll Flanders gives the overwhelming and indelible impression that it is modeled on a whore in fact. Its authenticity is not due to the accumulation of elaborately researched detail. It has none of the sensory richness of background and local color we find in Zola’s Nana, although it says essentially the same thing about the profession of whoring. Defoe’s is a classical realism.
added by SnootyBaronet | editSaturday Review of Literature, Kenneth Rexroth

» Add other authors (172 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Defoe, DanielAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fragonard, Jean-HonoréCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hulse, MichaelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leishman, VirginiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merlington, LauralNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miers, Earl SchenckIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porter, DavinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rexroth, KennethAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwob, MarcelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seidel, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:12 -0400)

(see all 8 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)

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