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Moll Flanders: The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders Paperback – Oct 3 1989

4.1 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Paperback, Oct 3 1989
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised ed. edition (Oct. 3 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140433139
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140433135
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 281 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #533,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Inside Flap

Written in a time when criminal biographies enjoyed great success, Daniel Defoe's "Moll Flanders details the life of the irresistible Moll and her struggles through poverty and sin in search of property and power. Born in Newgate Prison to a picaresque mother, Moll propels herself through marriages, periods of success and destitution, and a trip to the New World and back, only to return to the place of her birth as a popular prostitute and brilliant thief. The story of Moll Flanders vividly illustrates Defoe's themes of social mobility and predestination, sin, redemption and reward.
This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the 1721 edition printed by Chetwood in London, the only edition approved by Defoe. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

“Defoe’s excellence it is, to make me forget my specific class, character, and circumstances, and to raise me while I read him, into the universal man.” —Samuel Taylor Coleridge --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
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 Moll Flanders from the time that she is given up by her mother in Newgate through a turbulent and action packed life. He presents her flawed choices as reasonable under the circumstances in each case. And what choices they are!
The best punch is about three quarters of the way through the book when she is starting to get on in years and is trying to better her position through marriage. He, through her, chastises women who put too little value on themselves. He/She spells out certain rules to gain control in relationships with men and how to best watch for your own interests. It struck me that this would be useful information for a young girl to read today (or any unmarried woman for that matter).
If you are concerned about giving a book to a young girl that contains premarital sex, theft and a score of other things you wouldn't want her to do - don't be. DeFoe presents the memoirs as a warning, a parable if you will, and Ms. Flanders is always repentent. This is standard DeFoe style - and a wonderful story.
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Format: Paperback
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. As such, I am enchanted by the engaging rhythm of Defoe's words. His dialogue is charming as he uses a tongue and accent not much different from today's but far more elegant. The plot of the story, however, disappoints me. The story is wholly comprised of events, making it nothing more than a flowery timeline of one woman's life. For me, this odd combination of excellent language and mediocre plot makes for an ultimately readable yet slightly dissatisfying novel.

Moll Flanders is the story of one woman's struggle to avoid the plight of poverty in seventeenth-century England. Moll is born in Newgate prison and orphaned by her criminal mother. From there, she is taken in by a kindly woman and raised as a "gentlewoman," and thus her story begins. Moll's childhood innocence is quickly transformed as her life turns from that of a simple servant into that of a common prostitute. She soon learns that sex and marriage are merely tools for bartering with, and love is only worth its weight in gold. Eventually, Moll turns from prostitution to stealing in order to supplement her finances, and her life goes drastically downhill from there. Her story is littered with unresolved sin and shame, until one momentous event changes her entire outlook on life and on love and teaches her what it means to be righteous.

Ultimately, what sounds like an intriguing story line results only in one continuous stream of events. Defoe's style of writing, although nicely worded, is impersonal in that he includes very little about the thoughts and feelings of Moll.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Moll Flanders was written by Daniel Defoe, the same author of Robinson Crusoe. Although the settings are different, we can see many similarities between the stories, like the implicit criticism of british society of the XVII/XVIII centuries and the importance that society gave to exterior looks.
Moll Flanders can be divided in two parts. In the first one, Moll, being poor, is raised in a foster home, and, being pretty, catches the attention of the elder son of the family whose house she lives in. It is when her misfortunes begin. Misled and deceived by this elder son, she has to leave the house and be on her own. When she was a child, she wanted to be a "dame of society", and that's what she desperately tries to become, looking for a rich man who will support her financialy. To catch the eyes of such men, she has to pretend she is very rich herself, and then all she manages to have are false "gentlemen", trying themselves to marry a rich woman. Even then, she is able to find a man she loves (more than one, in fact), but through a series of bad luck she always looses everything.
The second part of the book is where Moll Flanders transforms herself in a successfull thieve. This is a fun part, where she describes her struggle to accomplish the thefts without being caught and thrown to infamous prison Newgate. And then, the ending seemed a little too sudden to me.
Defoe's book is a stinging critic to his society, and that's why he chose to write in a female first-person, self centered (there are almost no other names in the course of the story) and desperate to get to the high level of society, showing that everybody could be affected by hypocrite puritanism and moralism.
Grade 8.5/10
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Format: Paperback
This book is about a woman, Moll Flanders, who was born in a prison and raised by a governess that brought her up as a "gentlewoman". ALthough her manners were that of a gentlewoman, circumstances led her to become a thief and a "whore" (her own term), and her spirit kept her in that trade until she re-lived her mother's fate.
It is hard to believe that this book is written by a man, for he knows female nature very well and looks very critically at the actions of men towards Moll. I would almost call this book feminist, although I don't like to use that term, since it makes men run from those books. I use that term very loosely, since it really does not go into any deeper feminst issues. This book is filled with adventures and is funny and witty, although its storyline is somewhat grim. I really wanted to give this book 3 1/2 stars because it left me wanting for more, not just at the end, but throughout. All events are described in very little detail, and I personally wanted to know more about Moll and other characters. Overall, I liked it because it managed to entertain me and because it's fast and short, it grabs your attention.
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