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Moll Flanders: The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders Paperback – Oct 3 1989
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The recent adaptation of Moll Flanders for Masterpiece Theater is a book-lover's dream: the dialogue and scene arrangement are close enough to allow the viewer to follow along in the book. The liberties taken with the tale are few (some years of childhood between the gypsies and the wealthy family are elided; Moll is Moll throughout the tale, rather than Mrs. Betty; Robert becomes Rowland, etc.) and the sets avoid the careless anachronism of the movie version released earlier this year.
The breasts, raised skirts, tumbling hair and heavy breathing on the small screen might catch you by surprise if you don't read the book carefully (as might Moll's abandonment of her children on more than one occasion). Unlike his near-contemporary John Cleland (_Fanny Hill_), Defoe was trying to keep out of jail, and so didn't dwell on the details of "correspondence" between Moll and her varied lovers. But on the page and on the screen, Moll comes across quite clearly as a woman who might bend, but refuses to break, and who is intent on having as good a life as she can get.
E. M. Forster in Aspects of the Novel considers Moll and her creator's art in some detail. While he finds much to criticize in Defoe's ability to plot (where did those last two children go, anyway?), he is as besotted with Moll as I am. Immoral? Sure -- but immortal, and never, ever dull. We hope at least a few of the viewers of the recent adaptation take a couple hours to discover the original, inimitable Moll Flanders. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“The brilliance of Moll Flanders, and of the best of Defoe’s other novels, is that they dramatize the uncertainty that goes with the opportunism, and show us a world in which, if you can make yourself, you can lose yourself too.” –from the Introduction by John MullanSee all Product Description
Inside This Book(Learn More)
My True Name is so well known in the Records, or Registers at Newgate, and in the Old-Baily,1 and there arc some things of such Consequence still depending there, relating to my particular Conduct, that it is not to be expected I should set my Name, or the Account of my Family to this Work; perhaps, after my Death it may be better known; at present it would not be proper, no, not tho' a general Pardon should be issued, even without Exceptions and reserve of Persons or Crimes. Read the first page
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Top Customer Reviews
Moll Flanders was written in 1683, during a time in which women were considered subservient to men. Women were expected to get married and be content with the household affairs. However, money was the key, without it one would be unable to find a husband of position that would be a good provider. If a woman, like Moll, found herself alone and herself to rely upon, she discovered that there were not many options available, "I found by experience, that to be Friendless is the worst Condition, next to being in want, that a Woman can be reduc'd to: I say a Women, because 'tis evident Men can be their own Advisers, and their own Directors, and know how to work themselves out of Difficulties and into Business better than women; but if a Woman has no Friend to Communicate her Affairs to, and to advise and assist her, tis' ten to one but she is undone" (121). Men dominated the business world and women were never taught to manage their own affairs or given the skills to enable them to make it in the business world. In fact, it was illegal for most women to do so.Read more ›
Here, a very independent minded woman pretends to tell us her life story marked with bigamy, theft, incest, embezzlements, etc.
Since the overall plot is described from the start, the whole suspense lies in how what is announced will actually fit in (it does).
The novel may be read at multiple levels since the degree of truthfulness on the narrator's part is of course questionable given that she tells the reader about her life based on deceiving others.
She certainly seems completely amoral and her single motivation appears to be money. Thus, in very modern fashion, her loyalties vary according to her own interest. For much of the work, she complains that she has no friend but has no qualms time and again to abandon her own children. She does develop a very close relationship with another woman, although it seems to be somewhat unidirectional in her favour. If it was as intimate as one may deduce, it certainly would have been completely scandalous in her days. Although the author does not shy away from providing precise details in many instances, he remains elusive on this account.
This enthralling work written three centuries ago is very pertinent today and warmly recommended to all (adult) readers.
Moll did not start out as an unregenerate guttersnipe. At the book's start, Defoe is careful to portray her as the innocent lamb cast adrift in a sea of unscrupulous men. The world of Moll Flanders, the England of the 17th century, was not one designed to harbor any illusions that innocence could long remain that way in the face of ubiquitous lechery and poverty. Moll is seduced, then abandoned, and at the ripe age of 16,must fend for herself. The only coin that she retains to provide herself with the necessities of life is the one that she sits on.
MOLL FLANDERS is unique among fallen from virtue women tales in its structure and incessant theme that to survive in an immoral world, one must be more immoral than everyone else. The novel itself is not divided into chapters. It is simply one very long series of vignettes, extending over many years, that portray Moll as the most infamous flat character in English literature. Moll's story can be summarized thusly: Moll steals, Moll eludes the law, Moll has innumerable (and unnamed) children, Moll commits incest (unknowingly) with her brother, Moll gets caught and is imprisoned. Throughout all of this, Moll changes not a whit.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
It's a difficult book to read and maintain interest due to the nature of writing of the period. The subject matter also lends itself to a stilted style as a result of the... Read morePublished 22 days ago by dragonworks
wrongly ordered. Did not know that it was a German version as my German is very elementary to say the leastPublished 19 months ago by Thomas Dickens
I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's a dark, sad, searching psychological novel along the lines of Roxana, also by Defoe. Read morePublished on June 13 2012 by Mark Nenadov
I especially enjoyed this novel as an honest account of the Victorian days and a story of a woman longing to be in high society, but not born to be part of it. Read morePublished on Dec 14 2005 by Lisa
I particularly loved this book. I thought it was very cleverly written. I was able to get into the character's life situations and I always wanted to see what would happen to the... Read morePublished on Jan. 24 2004
Obviously, this novel is about a prostitute. The writing accompanies this woman's journey without being dry or repetitive. Read morePublished on Dec 22 2003 by Alane Fuller
First off, it is surprising to me to read a male author so comfortable in the female perspective. But DeFoe definitely is comfortable and superb as he presents the 'memoirs' of... Read morePublished on July 9 2003 by Jennifer B. Barton
Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe is neither the best nor the worst book I have ever read. I have long been a lover of classical language. Read morePublished on April 21 2003 by Karen Duhai
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