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Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe


Daniel Defoe was a prolific English writer and journalist, best known for his enduring literary legacy, which includes the groundbreaking novel "Robinson Crusoe." Born Daniel Foe in London, he later adopted the surname Defoe, possibly to distance himself from his Puritan heritage. Defoe's life was marked by both his literary achievements and his political activism.

Defoe's early years were marked by financial instability, as he ventured into various trades and businesses. However, his true calling emerged when he turned to writing. He became a prominent journalist, producing numerous pamphlets, essays, and periodicals that tackled pressing issues of his time, including religious freedom, trade, and social reform. His most famous work during this period was "The True-Born Englishman" (1701), a satirical poem defending the King, William III, against xenophobia.

In 1719, Defoe published his magnum opus, "Robinson Crusoe." This novel, inspired by the real-life story of Alexander Selkirk, a marooned sailor, is considered one of the first English novels and a pioneering work of the adventure genre. It tells the tale of a castaway's survival on a deserted island, exploring themes of self-reliance, human resilience, and the consequences of colonialism.

Beyond his literary pursuits, Defoe was an outspoken political commentator, advocating for religious tolerance and social reform. He faced periods of imprisonment for his controversial writings, but his dedication to free speech remained unyielding.

Daniel Defoe's legacy endures through his significant contributions to English literature and his impact on the development of the novel as a literary form. His works continue to be read and studied, offering insights into the human condition and the challenges of his era. Defoe's literary talents and unwavering commitment to his principles have left an indelible mark on the world of letters.

Important Works:

  • Robinson Crusoe
  • Moll Flanders
  • A Journal of the Plague Year
  • Roxana: The Fortunate Mistress
  • Captain Singleton
  • The True-Born Englishman
  • A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain
  • The Shortest Way with the Dissenters
  • The Complete English Tradesman
  • The Political History of the Devil