One of the earliest novels in English, Moll Flanders is the purported autobiography of a heroine who is undoubtedly one of the most lively, convincing, and delightful rogues in literature. Born in Newgate Prison and orphaned soon after, Moll is provided with no opportunities in life, yet she is propelled by an unrelenting drive to overcome her background of impoverishment. Donning whatever mask suits her best in the moment, she appraises theft, prostitution, and bigamy only in terms of their profit potential. From her birth to her final position of wealth, Moll Flanders demonstrates a spirit of industry and an indomitable will.
Praised by Virginia Woolf as one of the "few English novels which we can call indisputably great", Moll Flanders is a work of genius which represents an important step in the evolution of the novel.
"Defoe's excellence is to make me forget my specific class, character, and circumstances, and to raise me while I read him into the universal man." (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
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- Christine Kenngott