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Moll Flanders

Posted: Fri June 15th, 2012, 1:18 pm
by writerinthenorth
I continued my current re-reading of the classics with this one, first read 40 years ago, and I was pleased to have my fond memories of it refreshed. One of the earliest British novels, this masquerades as a memoir, with Defoe handling the female perspective of the eponymous heroine just as well as he did Robinson Crusoe. I call her 'heroine' though Moll's adventures as sometime prostitute and recidivist thief would seem to disqualify her from such a status but for her late redemption and reform. In any case, we never think of her as a real villain, rather one who is forced by circumstances to make her way in life the best she can. She does admit to being an easy prey to temptation, and she is her own best apologist. As Moll says herself, her 'wicked' life is a lot more interesting to read than her return to virtue and prosperity. We learn a good deal along the way about the harsh conditions of living in late 17th Century England, and of the brutal treatment wrong-doers might expect, both from the courts and, if they catch you, from the mob. Humour and romance help to alleviate the gloom which, along with Moll's winning narrative, always keep us on her side even while she commits her more outrageous sins.

Posted: Fri June 15th, 2012, 8:19 pm
by SGM
We have a local connection to Defoe in my locality and he is one of my favourite writers. Moll is a particular delight but did you count how many children she had?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2011/feb/22/bunhill-fields-bunyan-defoe-blake

Defoe's headstone is now in the Hackney Museum having travelled around the country a bit.

Posted: Sat June 16th, 2012, 2:26 am
by Margaret
It's been years since I read this, but I remember laughing a lot and feeling a lot of affection for Moll and her ability to bounce back from calamity.

Posted: Sat June 16th, 2012, 9:57 am
by writerinthenorth
Moll doesn't seem to give much thought to her children, does she? Farms them off pretty quick.

Posted: Thu January 30th, 2014, 8:46 pm
by Prof.Hirata
"SGM" wrote: Moll is a particular delight but did you count how many children she had?


I had the same problem of counting children, when reading "Roxana" - another novel by Defoe :D

Posted: Thu January 30th, 2014, 8:53 pm
by Prof.Hirata
I also remember the BBC version of MF, which I liked a lot.
A great fun was seeing the actress who played Moll right after she played a serious doctor in the American series "ER" :)

Posted: Thu January 30th, 2014, 9:31 pm
by princess garnet
That's Alex Kingston.
She later played Boudica in "Warrior Queen" which aired on "Masterpiece Theater" here in the US in 2003.