Before Crusoe: Defoe, Voice, and the Ministry - Routledge Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature (Hardback)Penny Pritchard (author)
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Offering new perspective on the 1719 literary watershed that was Robinson Crusoe, this work argues that Defoe established a new form of moral authority through the spectrum of `voices' which articulate his earlier works. Defoe's profoundly ambivalent relationship with his London-based nonconformity, as well as the changing popular status of ministerial authority in the period, enabled his crafting of myriad anonymized personae across a diverse canon. Defoe emulates - and sometimes mimics - the rhetorical and moral postures of that most influential cohort of contemporary authority figures, the clergy, even while pointedly distancing himself from them. How and why he does so, as well as the cultural prominence, stylistics, and popular status of contemporary ministers, are explored in depth.
Better-known texts before 1719 such as The Storm and The Family Instructor are discussed in relation to writing by contemporary minister-authors; Defoe's conduct works, in particular, are presented as nascent works of narrative prose fiction akin to the novel itself. Important lesser-known works such as The Present State of the Parties (1712) and The Conduct of Christians (1717) also demonstrate Defoe's indictment of popular ministers caught in a moral double-bind between their desire for public recognition and popular print's inherent association with financial ambition. This volume offers alternative readings of Robinson Crusoe and later novels, foregrounding Defoe's reconfiguration of moral and religious authority through his fictional narrators and a very different cultural role for the ministers who feature in them.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Number of pages: 160
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
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