The Defoe Society invites submissions for the best published essay (chapter in a book or journal article) on Daniel Defoe. The winning essay will receive $200 / £125.
Please send the published version of your essay either as an email … Read more
Aileen Douglas’s careful new study, Work in Hand: Script, Print, and Writing 1690-1840, begins with Daniel Defoe’s observations in An Essay upon Literature (1726) that “since the Art of Printing has been invented, the laborious part of Writing is taken … Read more
If you can’t beat them, join them.
What can one do to snatch the attention of distracted audiences in an age of too much entertainment, especially when some of it is billed as information? This problem is hardly unique to … Read more
Burnard’s Planters, Merchants and Slaves offers a masterful synthesis of archival evidence and scholarship on the economics and culture of the Anglo-American slave plantation complex from its beginnings through the emancipation of slaves. The profitability of the plantations, and their … Read more
As Anne M. Thell puts it in the introduction to her fine book on empiricism and eighteenth-century travel writing, Minds in Motion excavates the “prehistory of objectivity that predates the term itself, which does not take on its modern form … Read more
Alchemy of Empire is a unique work of scholarship that engages a number of critical questions within the literary and historical studies of Enlightenment science. Lucidly written, replete with elegant close readings and provocative juxtapositions of archival and imaginative texts, … Read more
What can eighteenth-century literary studies contribute to animal studies in the humanities? This book offers a gratifyingly canonical answer for eighteenth-centuryists. Beginning with James Thomson’s The Seasons and ending with Anna Laetitia Barbauld’s “To a Caterpillar,” the book’s argument hinges … Read more
Colonel Jack occupies an odd spot in Defoe’s canon. It was published in 1722, the same year as Moll Flanders and Journal of the Plague Year, one year before Roxana. But while these other novels have long been … Read more
Misty G. Anderson’s animated and absorbing book on the representation of Methodism in eighteenth-century texts, Imagining Methodism in Eighteenth-Century Britain, belies its austere cover featuring a dour old Methodist. In her consideration of the subject, Anderson expertly navigates historical, … Read more
Stories about diseases are always popular. The details of bodily trauma can horrify yet rivet an audience while the methods of cure may amuse. Thus, a book such as Jonathan Lamb’s Scurvy: The Disease of Discovery attracts readers with its … Read more
IT is generally acknowledged that Daniel Defoe’s Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain (1724-1726) is the most notable contemporary travel account of early eighteenth-century Britain. There has, however, been less agreement as to the most salient features of … Read more
THE critical response to Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year (1722) has unsurprisingly focused upon the issue of literary form. The Journal’s disorienting narration, which erratically shifts back and forth from episodic anecdotes about plague victims to … Read more
For queerness can never define an identity; it can only ever disturb one.
Lee Edelman, No Future
DANIEL Defoe’s 1722 historical novel, A Journal of the Plague Year, renders London as a terrifying landscape during the Great Plague of … Read more
FINDING eighteenth-century abridgments of A Journal of the Plague Year in the American archive didn’t seem to have much to do with love—at first. Instead, motivations behind its republication seemed distinctly commercial. Roughly sixteen pamphlet-pages worth of material from the … Read more
These two books will permanently change our conception of Queen Anne and, incidentally, the decade of her reign. The adjectives most used to describe and characterize Queen Anne have been “fat,” “sluggish,” “dull,” and “preferring women.” In fact, she was, … Read more
For anyone interested in Defoe, or in British fiction and politics between the 1603 Union of the Crowns and the Great Reform Act of 1832, this book is full of stimulating ideas. In some ways it delivers more than its … Read more
The focus of James V. Morrison’s Shipwrecked is encapsulated in its subtitle: Disaster and Transformation in Homer, Shakespeare, Defoe, and the Modern World. Drawing upon The Odyssey, The Tempest, and Robinson Crusoe, Morrison identifies a set … Read more
Among the persisting legacies of Ian Watt’s The Rise of the Novel (1957) is the notion that eighteenth-century British fiction reflected the disenchanting tendencies of the Enlightenment. Just as natural philosophy renounced the supernatural—the view goes—the realist novel renounced the … Read more
This is a collection in search of a cosmology, to put it in the terms one of its editors, Kevin Cope, adopts in his “Conclusion.” There he claims that adaptability has been elevated to the level of the cosmological in … Read more
This collection of essays dedicated to George Starr concentrates on Professor Starr’s interest in the novel and the ways in which sentimentality impacted fiction during the eighteenth century. More particularly the essays spin off from an essay by Professor Starr, … Read more
Karen Downing’s study of masculine identity in colonial Australia in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries identifies Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719) as an important reference point for both transported felons and voluntary migrants. “The promise of Robinson Crusoe… Read more
Recounting the pleasures of reading The Mysteries of Udolpho, Catherine Morland confesses that she finished the book in “two days—my hair standing on end the whole time” (77). For Jane Austen, Catherine’s tendency to confuse Gothic fiction with reality … Read more
Aarseth, Espen. Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins UP, 1997. Print.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Montreal: Ubisoft, 2013. Xbox 360.
Aubrey, John. “An Essay Towards the Description of the North Division of … Read more
IN ITS annual earnings report for 2014, the French multinational video game developer and publisher Ubisoft announced that it had shipped more than 11 million copies of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (7). Set roughly between the end of … Read more
In 1519, on a beach in what became Veracruz, Hernando Cortés staged a now infamous display of power in front of five emissaries sent by Montezuma. Horses were made to charge, bells to ring, cannons to boom. This was a … Read more
DANIEL DEFOE published on the Church of Scotland over a considerable period of time and from a particularly complex position. The works of Defoe that dedicate significant attention to the Scottish church are chiefly published between the years 1706 and … Read more
… Read more
[T]he administration of the eighteenth-century criminal justice system created several interconnected spheres of contested judicial space in each of which deeply discretionary choices were made. Those accused of offences in the eighteenth century found themselves propelled on an often bewildering
Karen Lipsedge’s book examines the relationship between real domestic spaces and their fictional counterparts in novels by Samuel Richardson, Frances Burney, Eliza Haywood, and Frances Sheridan. “By recreating the structure, design, function and social significance of specific rooms and garden … Read more
Howard D. Weinbrot’s Literature, Religion, and the Evolution of Culture has a very impressive chronological and intellectual range and sweep. Adapting Darwinian evolutionary theory to the cultural history of the long eighteenth century is a significant and formidable undertaking. It … Read more
G.A. Starr has produced an excellent edition of a work that he demonstrates, without the shadow of a doubt, to be by Defoe. It is a reply to Matthew Tindal’s Christianity as Old as the Creation, which appeared in … Read more
As a metaphor for relationships of political obligation, friendship is at once more contingent and more applicable to the interactions of eighteenth-century politics than the filial bond commonly used to define the relationship between monarch and subject. In Emrys Jones’s … Read more
This lucid, subtle, and stylishly written scholarly monograph belongs to a line of works which includes Ian Watt’s The Rise of the Novel (1957), Michael McKeon’s The Origins of the English Novel (1987), and, more recently, Michael Schmidt’s The Novel: … Read more
Melanie Bigold’s new book sets out to fill a significant—and, at first sight, surprising—lacuna in scholarship on eighteenth-century literature. While the past 25 years have witnessed a dramatic growth of interest in women’s writing in the long eighteenth century, this … Read more
Ades, John I. “‘Fit Letters Though Few’: Dryden’s Correspondence.” Papers on Language and Literature 19.3 (1983): 263−79. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 May 2014.
Audra, E. and Williams, Aubrey. “Introduction to An Essay on Criticism.” Pastoral … Read more
1. Such a reading has long been contested. In 1972, Otis Fellows, in an article entitled “Prior’s ‘Pritty Spanish Conceit,’” argued that Don Quixote (or rather Sancho Panza) was a significant influence on “Alma,” noting Panza’s insistence that the … Read more
I would like to thank James Woolley for his advice and assistance in the preparation of this essay. Stuart Gillespie, Paul Hammond, David Hopkins, Rob Hume, Paul Hunter and Pat Rogers were also kind enough to respond to my … Read more
This ambitious book provides important reading for postgraduate students and researchers in the fields identified by its title. The title and opening chapter identify the broadest of its arguments, which is that accepted models of Enlightenment progress, especially in global … Read more
In 1998, Paul Budra and Betty A. Schellenberg described the sequel as “an almost-predictable footnote to the narratives of Western history” (3). Almost fifteen years later, it is refreshing to encounter a book-length study that seeks to redress a persisting … Read more
Paula Backscheider’s most recent book is, by a wide margin, the best study of Elizabeth Singer Rowe that has yet been written. But to praise the book in such terms is to understate its range. Consider a paragraph appearing on … Read more
Beyond its brief introduction, John Bender’s Ends of Enlightenment contains nothing new. Instead, it is a collection of ten separate articles and book chapters – some co-written, all previously published – from as early as 1987 and as recently as … Read more
Zouheir Jamoussi allows in his opening sentence that the “temptation” to compare Daniel Defoe and Jonathan Swift is not new, which suggests that others have considered but rejected this attractive but perhaps risky enterprise. James Sutherland’s oft-told tale, a tale … Read more