Financial Woes and Recovery
While Daniel Defoe was experiencing all kinds of tribulations in his business affairs, he was also emerging as an author. His experience of bankruptcy and the various legal actions brought against him introduced him to two powerful and transforming emotional experiences — shame and humiliation. The long discussion of bankruptcy in The Compleat English Tradesman portrays the experience in terms of psychological theatre. Although he wrote only one full-length book during the thirteen-year reign of William III, An Essay upon Projects, this was the period when Defoe emerged as a powerful writer on politics and society in both prose and verse. For someone like Defoe, who grew up with the terror of the possible eradication of Protestantism by Louis XIV, confidence in the permanence of the Glorious Revolution was impossible. Only after 1723, when one more Jacobite plot was easily defeated, was he to relax his propaganda campaigns against the Jacobites. Defoe’s masters in this form of political controversy in verse were Andrew Marvell and John Dryden.
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