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The sole survivor of a shipwreck, Robinson Crusoe is stranded on an uninhabited island far away from any shipping routes. With patience and ingenuity, he transforms his island into a tropical paradise. For twenty-four years he has no human company, until one Friday, he rescues a prisoner from a boat of cannibals. With Robinson Crusoe, Defoe wrote what is regarded as the first English novel, and created one of the most popular and enduring myths in literature. Written in an age of exploration and enterprise, it has been variously interpreted as an embodiment of British imperialist values, as a portrayal of 'natural man', or as a moral fable. But above all it is a brilliant narrative.
Born in Newgate prison and abandoned six months later, Moll's drive to find and hold on to a secure place in society propels her through incest, adultery, bigamy, prostitution and a resourceful career as a thief ('the greatest Artist of my time') before she is apprehended and returned to Newgate. If Moll Flanders is on one level a Puritan's tale of sin and repentance, through self-made, self-reliant Moll its rich subtext conveys all the paradoxes and amoralities of the struggle for property and power in Defoe's newly individualistic society.
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