Saturday, December 8, 2007

Moll Flanders, by Daniel Defoe

Another self-imposed classic, listened to during housework, Baby Einstein dvds, and travel to and from various errands. I know that there have been 2 different movie releases of this (in 1996) the U.K. version being more true to the book than the U.S. version. And, of course, Netflix doesn't carry it, so it may be a good while before I can see this story played out onscreen. No matter.

Defoe does a more than fair job of describing Moll's life cycle. I found it strange, however, that she chooses to reunite with only one of her several children, and that only because she hopes to secure her mother's fortune. In this novel, money seems to be all, and even though she falls upon the occasional hard time, she's uncharacteristically lucky, and ends her days well above her original station.

Moll's story is an early forerunner of today's crime novel. She gets away with (in the eyes of the law, at least) a great many thefts, whorings, and other scams, until finally caught, sent to Newgate, and sentenced to death, which she manages to evade thanks to a religious sponsor. Also, Moll's travels between the high and low societies emphasize her own shallowness regarding money. Hers is a classic psychological tale wherein money equals security and to what lengths an obsessive personality will travel to that end.

Although I'm not sure whether or not Defoe meant to do this, I can see a faint hint of primordial feminism in Moll's actions. This, apparently, is further explored in Defoe's novel Roxana:The Fortunate Mistress, which I'll read at some point, perhaps next year.

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