Moll Flanders

Moll Flanders

by Daniel Defoe

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.

Defoe's Whig views are neverthe 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.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Classics
  • Rating: 3.52
  • Pages: 339
  • Publish Date: October 5th 1993 by Wordsworth Editions
  • Isbn10: 1853260738
  • Isbn13: 9781853260735

What People Think about "Moll Flanders"

the person who was reading this used, 49 cent, copy of moll flanders before me stopped reading at page 26, judging by the abrupt cessation of circled words like "prattle", "would you were, sir", "brother fell", and "he would" i like to think about this person, and their busy pen. another thing that is mysterious is moll flanders.

So, to come now to Mistress Moll, it was no meer nothing that an entertainment should be found in the detailled moral conundrums that this woman was got into at so many times, and what she herself made of them, and how she justifyed them, and so forth. But on occasion Moll will come forth with such a line as this It is but here and there that a Man is to be Found who is fit for a Woman to Venture upon.

Moll is essentially a working girl on the make but really she's just trying to find Mr Right and settle down with a nice respectable fellow in order to get a bit of financial security. Husband One dies an early death and leaves her with small children to care for. Nine children later and six husbands down Moll is still far from living the high life and resorts to meaner crimes than seduction in order to fill her purse. You can imagine that a life like this is probably going to be less than kind on a lady's general appearance but Moll still seems to pull in the gentlemen.

Because reading Moll Flanders is like watching the grainy footage of a home video of your lover at five years old. I'm a bit of lit-geek and I loved seeing how you could see the beginnings of the character/realist novel in Moll Flanders. Certainly Moll has far less internal substance and texture than Madame Bovary or Anna Karenina.

3 things I liked about this book: 1. Her ability to turn almost any situation into a positive, eventually (Moll Flanders wobbles, but she never falls down!) 3. She overdoes the "loving mother" bit a touch right at the end when she re-meets her son in Virginia, and you'd think in this mood she would be minded to say something about that son's brother or sister she left behind. 2. It was skillfully written so that the reader retained more sympathy for Moll than might have been the case, but she was still a pretty nasty piece of work, however much she justified her actions to herself.

Critics have asserted there is irony in Moll Flanders but it is not in the book; that is, we--as readers--may appreciate irony in Moll's character but Defoe does not provide it. Moll Flanders, as the description from Defoe's original title page suggests, is a novel written in the confessional mode. Again and again, Moll focuses on money and the material; early on, she defines herself in terms of her net worth. His dominance soon takes hold, and Moll describes his tactics in terms of lures: he began with that unhappy snare to all women, viz. After an initial episode of kissing, the brother gives Moll money. Molls tells us there is little worth describing, I lived with this husband, only to observe that I had two children by him, and that at the end of five years he died (51). Typically, Moll assesses her present situation in terms of money, a description more graphic and several lines longer, than that of her five years of marriage. Molls hostile world tempts her with material gain, she succumbs, eventually has some type of downfall, and then defines her outcome in terms of her current net worth. While we might find her attempts at rationalization or short fits of morality funny, Moll Flanders is a complex character.

Moll Flanders is, I think, a rare look at the treatment and disposition of lower class women in Britain in the early 1700s--what they thought, how they comported, and their daily interactions, no matter how insignificant. Despite what would normally be intriguing yet deplorable behavior, Defoe manages to make Moll, if not a likable character, at least one under which the pressures of her demographic makes her a believable, credible, and forgivable protagonist. Unschooled, abused, almost no legal rights, victimized by any able man, no great hopes to improve her condition, destitute, routinely sick, routinely pregnant--this is the daily grind for women in 1722 Britain. I recommend women read this book, not for my star rating, but because a man has written what I believe is a true, unabashed representation of a woman's condition in the 1700s. I'd like to know what women think of this book. I believe the abuse, sexual mores, and survival tactics of women in a brutish man's world at the lowest income levels is an unexpected reveal, and though the story drags at first, you may find yourself rooting for Moll. What do women today think of Moll?

I worked at White Castle, I typed stuff for attorneys, and I did another job that I have never told anyone about until now. Making a living isn't easy, and Moll Flanders knew that. She dated men and married men and slept with men who she thought could help her. On the one hand, it is hard to believe that a novel about an independent woman trying to survive was written in 1722. On the other hand, the structure of the novel is a complete mess, making it obvious that it was written in 1722.

Either I changed my mind, and it's really a 5-star, or perhaps the 'x' factor is the narration by Virginia Leishman. There was also a male narrator at the end, but I don't see his name on the packaging for the CD book. The male narrator read that, and also the summary Defoe gives, at the very end of the book.

A prolific and versatile writer, he wrote more than five hundred books, pamphlets, and journals on various topics (including politics, crime, religion, marriage, psychology and the supernatural).