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It is not that I see any reason to alter my opinion in any thing I have writ, which occasions this epistle; but I find it necessary for the satisfaction of some persons of honour, as well as wit, to pass a short explication upon it; and tell the world what I mean, or rather, what I do not mean, in some things wherein I find I am liable to be misunderstood. I confess myself something surpris'd to hear that I am taxed with bewraying my own nest,... more...

PREFACE That all Defoe's novels, with the exception of "Robinson Crusoe," should have been covered with the dust of neglect for many generations, is a plain proof of how much fashions in taste affect the popularity of the British classics. It is true that three generations or so ago, Defoe's works were edited by both Sir Walter Scott and Hazlitt, and that this masterly piece of realism, "Captain Singleton," was reprinted a few years back in "The... more...

THE LIFE OF DANIEL DE FOE. Daniel De Foe was descended from a respectable family in the county of Northampton, and born in London, about the year 1663. His father, James Foe, was a butcher, in the parish of St. Giles's, Cripplegate, and a protestant dissenter. Why the subject of this memoir prefixed the De to his family name cannot now be ascertained, nor did he at any period of his life think it necessary to give his reasons to the public.... more...

TO THE CITIZENSOFLondon and Westminster. GENTLEMEN, Experience has confirm'd you in that everlasting Maxim, that there is no other way to protect the Innocent, but by Punishing the Guilty. Crimes ever were, and ever must be unavoidably frequent in such populous Cities as yours are, being the necessary Consequences, either of the Wants, or the Depravity, of the lowest part of the humane Species. At this time the most flagrant Offences, as... more...

Chap. I. Being an Introduction to the whole Work. I doubt not but the title of this book will amuse some of my reading friends a little at first; they will make a pause, perhaps, as they do at a witch’s prayer, and be some time resolving whether they had best look into it or no, lest they should really raise the Devil by reading his story. Children and old women have told themselves so many frightful things of the Devil, and have... more...


CHAPTER I—REVISITS ISLAND That homely proverb, used on so many occasions in England, viz. “That what is bred in the bone will not go out of the flesh,” was never more verified than in the story of my Life.  Any one would think that after thirty-five years’ affliction, and a variety of unhappy circumstances, which few men, if any, ever went through before, and after near seven years of peace and enjoyment in the... more...

The world is so taken up of late with novels and romances, that it will be hard for a private history to be taken for genuine, where the names and other circumstances of the person are concealed, and on this account we must be content to leave the reader to pass his own opinion upon the ensuing sheet, and take it just as he pleases. The author is here supposed to be writing her own history, and in the very beginning of her account she gives the... more...

INTRODUCTION In March, 1724, was published the narrative in which Defoe came, perhaps even nearer than in Moll Flanders, to writing what we to-day call a novel, namely: The Fortunate Mistress; or, a History of the Life and Vast Variety of Fortunes of Mademoiselle de' Belau; afterwards called the Countess of Wintelsheim, in Germany. Being the Person known by the name of the Lady Roxana, in the Time of King Charles II. No second edition appeared... more...

The Consequences of this mistake, appear'd presently in the Most Zealous, in their offering all possible Insults to the Crolian Dissenters, Preaching them down, Printing them down, and Talking them down, as a People not fit to be suffer'd in the Nation, and now they thought they had the Game sure. Down with the Crolians began to be all the Cry, and truly the Crolians themselves began to be uneasy, and had nothing to rely upon but the Queens... more...

INTRODUCTION Being to direct this discourse to the tradesmen of this nation, it is needful, in order to make the substance of this work and the subject of it agree together, that I should in a few words explain the terms, and tell the reader who it is we understand by the word tradesman, and how he is to be qualified in order to merit the title of complete. This is necessary, because the said term tradesman is understood by several people,... more...