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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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Describing Britain in the 1720s

Describing Britain in the 1720s

Chapter:
(p.624) 26 Describing Britain in the 1720s
Source:
Daniel Defoe: Master of Fictions
Author(s):

Maximillian E. Novak

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199261543.003.0055

Roxana was Daniel Defoe’s final effort at creating the kind of fiction we think of as a novel of manners. Defoe’s ability to place a character within a complex milieu and to show how that character interacts with others, his ability to dramatise the moral implications of actions, and his continuing awareness of individual personality and the way it sees the world all found their fullest development in Roxana. A more practical consideration may have turned him away from novels. Robinson Crusoe had been an enormous success, and Moll Flanders and Colonel Jack had both rapidly gone to three editions. Defoe and Eliza Haywood had both come on the scene at approximately the same time, creating a mass market for prose fiction, but after five years public interest may have started to decline. By the early 1730s, Haywood had abandoned fiction for an acting career. After publishing Roxana, Defoe turned to writing the first of a series of books and pamphlets on the social problems of England.

Keywords:   Daniel Defoe, Roxana, England, manners, fiction, novels, Eliza Haywood, social problems

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