Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719) and Moll Flanders (1721) together defined a new way of writing fiction in the eighteenth century. Each was highly controversial in Defoe's time, and each has generated a very large amount of criticism since. This Guide examines the major trends and movements in critical interpretation of these two popular and widely-studied novels, from the earliest reception history to the present day. The thematic and chronological organization of material points out similarities and differences between the two books, and maps Defoe studies onto some of the obvious lines of development that criticism in general has taken over the last century in particular, including feminist, ideological and postcolonial perspectives. The volume also features a section on adaptations of the novels in film and other media.
PAUL BAINES is Professor of English at the University of Liverpool, UK. His previous publications include The Long Eighteenth Century (Hodder Arnold, 2004) and The Complete Critical Guide to Alexander Pope (Routledge, 2000).