Moll Flanders
  • Publication Date: February 23, 2005
  • ISBN: 9781551114514 / 1551114518
  • 444 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Moll Flanders

  • Publication Date: February 23, 2005
  • ISBN: 9781551114514 / 1551114518
  • 444 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Born to a petty thief in London’s notorious Newgate prison and determined to make her way in a rapacious and materialistic society, Moll Flanders recounts the “fortunes and misfortunes” of her turbulent life in this 1722 novel. Though Moll Flanders was shaped by the conventions of criminal biography, Defoe also drew on other literary traditions and his own rich background to create a remarkably original—and still controversial—work.

In addition to a critical introduction and substantial footnotes, this Broadview edition provides a wide range of writings by Defoe as well as contemporary responses to Moll Flanders. Other appendices include a selection of eighteenth-century writings on crime, prisons, and the Virginia colony.


“With this new edition of Moll Flanders, instructors are at last well-equipped to teach Defoe’s challenging and enigmatic novel. Scanlon has carefully edited and helpfully annotated the most authoritative text of Moll and supplied readers with a wealth of contemporary texts, including Defoe’s comments on women’s roles in urban life, that illuminate the complex cultural context into which Defoe launched his novel. These glimpses of Defoe’s other writings in combination with excerpts from literary contemporaries give students and general readers an unprecedentedly rich context in which to understand Moll Flanders.” — Melissa Mowry, St. John’s University, New York

Daniel Defoe: A Brief Chronology
Defoe’s Times: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

Moll Flanders

Appendix A: Related Writings by Defoe

  1. From An Essay upon Projects (1697)
  2. From the Review (19 February 1704-11 June 1713)
  3. From Applebee’s Journal (25 June 1720-14 May 1726)
  4. From Colonel Jack (1722)
  5. From Roxana (1724)
  6. From A Tour thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain (1724-27)
  7. From Conjugal Lewdness; Or, Matrimonial Whoredom (1727)
  8. From An Essay on the History and Reality of Apparitions (1727)
  9. From Street-Robberies, Consider’d [1728]

Appendix B: Related Works by Other Writers

  1. From Hell Upon Earth (1703)
  2. Paul Lorrain, The Ordinary of Newgate (1709)
  3. From A Discourse and View of Virginia [1712]
  4. From Alexander Smith, The History of the Lives, of the Most
    Noted Highway-Men
  5. From The History of the Press-Yard (1717)
  6. Jonathan Swift, The Last Speech and Dying Words of Ebenezor Elliston (1722)
  7. From An Essay in Praise of Knavery (1723)
  8. From T. Read, The Life and Actions of Moll Flanders [c. 1723]
  9. From An Accurate Description of Newgate (1724)
  10. From The Matchless Rogue (1725)

Appendix C: Defoe and Moll Flanders: Eighteenth-Century Views

  1. From The True-Born Hugonot, &c.A Satyr (1703)
  2. From Jonathan Swift, A Letter Concerning the Sacramental Test (1709)
  3. From Jonathan Swift, the Examiner (16 November 1710)
  4. From John Gay, The Present State of Wit (1711)
  5. From Joseph Addison, The Late Trial and Conviction of Count Tariff (1713)
  6. From Charles Gildon, Preface to The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Mr. D.… De F.… (1719)
  7. From Giles Jacob, The Poetical Register (1723)
  8. From the Preface to An Essay in Praise of Knavery (1723)
  9. From The Flying Post (1 March 1729)
  10. From Alexander Pope, The Dunciad Variorum (1729)
  11. From Richard Savage (?), An Author to be Lett (1729)
  12. From the Grub-street Journal (29 April 1731)
  13. From Read’s Weekly Journal (1 May 1731)
  14. From a Conversation with Alexander Pope (1742)
  15. From Theophilus Cibber, The Lives of the Poets (1753)
  16. From the Monthly Review (March 1775)
  17. From James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson (1778)
  18. From George Chalmers, The Life of Defoe (1786)
  19. From the Monthly Review (December 1787)
  20. From the Monthly Review (December 1790)

Select Bibliography

Paul Scanlon Professor and Head of the Department of English at Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, has written widely on Renaissance and eighteenth-century literature.