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Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

Download Moll Flanders as PDF

After the success of his 1719 novel Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe wrote Moll Flanders, a novel in the popular "criminal biography" genre which contends for the longest full title in all of literature, being:

The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, Etc. Who Was Born In Newgate, and During a Life of Continu'd Variety For Threescore Years, Besides Her Childhood, Was Twelve Year a Whore, Five Times a Wife [Whereof Once To Her Own Brother], Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon In Virginia, At Last Grew Rich, Liv'd Honest, and Died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums.

The upshot of the long-winded title is a plot reveal, though left out is the following: Moll's mother is set to be executed in a British jail, and is released because she's pregnant; mom moves to America, where Moll is left to foster parents, and because she's destitute pretends to be a wealthy widow to try to get men of means to marry her. Awesome plot twists ensue! Defoe's classic brilliantly captures themes of "social mobility, predestination, sin, redemption and reward."

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