A Critical Study of Daniel Defoe's Verse: Recovering the Neglected Corpus of His Poetic Work
By: Andreas K. E. Muller (author)Hardback
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This monograph is the first book-length study of Daniel Defoe as a poet and it addresses a long-standing gap in Defoe scholarship. It offers detailed readings of Defoe's verse productions in relation to their historical and literary contexts, and investigates Defoe's poetic theory and practice. In reaction to the common view of Defoe as, first and foremost, a novelist, the author argues that he was England's leading poet during the first decade of the eighteenth century. The all-too-common picture of Daniel Defoe as a novelist is both incomplete and highly misleading. The first of Defoe's novels did not actually appear until he was fifty-nine years of age, while, in 1701, Defoe actually achieved celebrity status by composing one of the most celebrated verse satires of the early eighteenth century, "The True-Born Englishman". Neither was this poetic fame short-lived - twenty-two separate editions or impressions of the poem appeared before his death in 1731, a figure which rose to fifty by midcentury.
Significantly, "The True-Born Englishman" was no one-off deviation from his usual writings: between 1699 and 1708 he produced more than twenty poems of substantial length, including his twelve-book magnum opus "Jure Divino (1706)". Thus, Defoe's modern classification as a novelist not only flies in the face of his contemporary reputation, it also places an undue limitation on our understanding of the scope of his talents as a writer of verse. Poetry, even a superficial survey of his oeuvre reveals, represented a substantial aspect of Defoe's early literary career.
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- ID: 9780773437968
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