Review: Defoe’s Moll Flanders

Moll Flanders: The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders (Penguin Classics)
Daniel Defoe

Moll Flanders is a bleak read. Everyone is pretty fucking awful. Moll herself can be read in numerous ways. She is a conniving, evil, women, brought low by her sins (this is arguably the way Defoe meant to portray her). Conversely, she is a strong women, who uses the resources at her disposal to survive in a world that consistently abuses her.
I prefer the second reading.

Either way, the ending where Moll finds a sort of spiritual redemption seemed contrived to my sensibilities, even if that possibility of redemption is likely the reason Defoe wrote the book in the first place. Perhaps the best of the early novels, if you’re interested in the novel as a form, you should read this one.

Recommended for the enthusiast.

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