Daniel Defoe: The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders

(1958 words)
  • Stuart Sim (University of Sunderland)

Moll Flanders, like Robinson Crusoe, owes a debt to spiritual autobiography, from which it derives much of its basic narrative structure. An embattled individual facing a hostile world, Moll sins and repents in the serial fashion of the protagonist of spiritual autobiography, undergoes the characteristic 'conversion experience' where she is given evidence of God's support (in Newgate Prison, in Moll's case), and finally triumphs over adversity to reach a state of personal security. Moll is also in the picaresque tradition of prose narrative, harking back to earlier Spanish models featuring the 'picaro', or rogue, figure, with Moll herself turning into an engaging female picaro, existing by her wits on the margins of …

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Sim, Stuart. "The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 June 2002
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=612, accessed 25 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Picaresque narrative