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Daniel Defoe: Master of FictionsHis Life and Works$
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Maximillian E. Novak

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199261543

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199261543.001.0001

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Meditating on Matters Spiritual and Secular

Meditating on Matters Spiritual and Secular

Chapter:
(p.51) 3 Meditating on Matters Spiritual and Secular
Source:
Daniel Defoe: Master of Fictions
Author(s):

Maximillian E. Novak

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199261543.003.0015

On October 17, 1678, the body of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey was found behind some bushes on the south side of Primrose Hill. As a London magistrate, Godfrey had been hearing accusations made by Titus Oates and Ezerel Tonge concerning a plot to murder Charles II, accompanied by a massacre of Protestants, and an invasion of Ireland by the French. Almost everyone in the nation was convinced that the Jesuits had hatched a conspiracy to slaughter great numbers of Protestants and return England to the control of the Catholic Church. On February 20, 1681, Daniel Defoe was in London listening to the first of a series of sermons delivered by John Collins. Collins’s sermons, along with a series of poetic meditations that record his inner spiritual struggles at the time, in Defoe’s hand are preserved in the Huntington Library in San Marino. That Defoe adapted his poetry to the new poetic forms of his time does not mean that the poems were not intensely personal.

Keywords:   Daniel Defoe, England, Edmund Berry Godfrey, Jesuits, poetry, sermons, meditations, John Collins, massacre, Charles II

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