(E-)Book Read! MOLL FLANDERS by Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe, The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders (1722).

First sentence: “My true name is so well known in the records or registers at Newgate, and in the Old Bailey, and there are 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 though a general pardon should be issued, even without exceptions and reserve of persons or crimes.”

P. 99: “He went back to what I had said before to him, and told me he hoped it would not relate to what I had said in my passion, and that he had resolved to forget all that as the effect of a rash, provoked spirit.”

Last sentence: “My husband remained there some time after me to settle our affairs, and at first I had intended to go back to him, but at his desire I altered that resolution, and he is come over to England also, where we resolve to spend the remainder of our years in sincere penitence for the wicked lives we have lived.”

Plot Summary (Wikipedia):

Moll’s mother is a convict in Newgate Prison in London who is given a reprieve by “pleading her belly”, a reference to the custom of staying the executions of pregnant criminals. Her mother is eventually transported to America, and Moll Flanders (not her birth name, she emphasizes, taking care not to reveal it) is raised until adolescence by a goodly foster mother, and then gets attached to a household as a servant where she is loved by both sons, the elder of whom convinces her to “act like they were married” in bed, yet eventually unwilling to marry her, he convinces her to marry his younger brother. She then is widowed, leaves her children in the care of in-laws, and begins honing the skill of passing herself off as a fortuned widow to attract a man who will marry her and provide her with security.

She will find some other husbands and will , as the title of the book suggests, encounter good and bad luck.

I didn’t like this at all…  Moll Flanders is a weird character, whom I couldn’t sympathize with, no matter what happened.  All she can think about, except herself, is money.  She encounters one good person after another, and yet she keeps on stealing and robbing and cheating and telling lies.

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4 Comments

  1. Oh, a pity you didn’t like it. I don’t know the book but to be honest, I’m not tempted.

    Did you feel you had to read the whole book? Or was it just a shortie?

    • No, I didn’t, Judith. And it was a book of almost 400 pages (on my Kindle). But because I don’t like to own books I haven’t read or didn’t finish, I read the whole thing. It is a classic, after all 🙂
      Thanks for your comment!

  2. And no wonder! Back in the day, fiction was considered a lie, and therefor a sin, hence the preamble of truth. Plus, the early novels were morality fables, usually concocted as thinly veiled warnings to keep young girls in line. PS: it didn’t work.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Cynthia

    • Yes, this was certainly a morality fable, although it wasn’t till the end Molly Flanders repented what she had done. And she got rewarded for that. I am glad I read it, though, it is a classic after all. But I don’t think I will ever read it again.
      Thanks for your comment, Cynthia.

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