Daniel Defoe was born into a middle class family in London, England in 1660. He was unable to attend Oxford or Cambridge due to his father's dissenter religious views and went, instead, to an academy run by the Rev. Charles Martin. Though not as prestigious an institution as the major universities, the academy offered an excellent education to this young man originally destined to be a Presbyterian minister. Defoe decided that he preferred a career in business to that of one in the church and went through periods of success and bankruptcy for the remainder of his life. His writing career began with the penning of political and religious pamphlets, poems, and articles, some of which landed him stays in Newgate Prison. For nearly ten years (1704-1713), he wrote and produced the periodical, The Review, almost single-handedly. It was in later life that he embarked on writing novels. Robinson Crusoe was published in 1719, Moll Flanders in 1722, and his last work of fiction, Roxana, in 1724. He died on April 24, 1731, while purportedly hiding from his creditors in London. His bouts of poverty furnished a theme in many of his books. Defoe is called by some scholars the father of the English novel.
PlotMoll tells her life story when she is in her seventies. From her birth in Newgate Prison, she is essentially alone in the world and must make her way by her wits and her beauty. Fate manages to kill, destroy, or eliminate all of Moll's husbands, lovers, caregivers, and friends by means such as incest, chicanery, or imprisonment. Through all adversity, Moll manages to triumph until, at the end of her life, Moll is living in comfort in London with her true love, Jemy. Both lament their former sins and wild ways and choose to "spend the remainder of our years in sincere penitence for the wicked lives we have lived."
As you begin, narrow your topic to a size that you can manage. Consider keywords that will help you find the information you need. These can be names of people, literary works, events, or broader identifying terms. Use these keywords for locating information in the library catalog, electronic databases, and if your professor approves, on the internet.
Daniel Defoe; Moll Flanders; names of specific characters; incest; criminal behavior; capitalism; symbolism; women in 18th century England
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Books of Literary Criticism and Background Information
Librarian Talk about Finding Journal and Newspaper Articles!
Electronic databases are purchased by the libraries for your research use. To find articles in newspapers and journals, letters, reference books, illustrations, photographs and more, use the 14 digit barcode on your student id/ library card to login to the databases. There is some overlap of articles in some databases; however, we encourage you to use more than one. All are excellent sources for this topic.
If you find an interesting article that is not full-text, you can request the article online. Or, one of our Reference Librarians can help you get the article. They will need the full citation for the article, your email address, your library card/ID barcode number, and your phone number for the quickest response. Articles from outside our system will take time to arrive.
HINT: For a full list of article databases, go to electronic databases and use the barcode number from your Lone Star College ID or library card to login (if not on campus).
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JSTOR | Use the Advanced Search page for the best results. Enter a keyword or keyword phrase in separate search boxes to locate articles containing those words. For best results, put the full title in quotes. Because this database is entirely scholarly, all articles are of the appropriate academic level.
Project Muse | The best results will be found using the Advanced Search page. To use the title in the search, put it in quotes in one search box, and type the author's name in a second box. You may want to add keywords from your thesis in a third and fourth box (click on "Add a Row"). Remember, the more terms you add, the fewer results you will obtain. This database is also entirely scholarly, so all articles will be of the appropriate academic level for your research.
Literature Resource Center | You will also find overviews and other articles which will help you get started and choose a topic or thesis. Also, journal articles, some full text and some excerpted. Click on "Works Search" and enter Moll Flanders. Ask for help if you can't decide which resources are suitable.
Academic Search Complete | A multi-subject database, with many full-text articles. Be sure to check the boxes marked "Full Text" and "Scholarly (peer-reviewed) Journals" in order to retrieve the appropriate level of journal article for your research. Suggested search terms: Defoe AND Moll Flanders, entered in this way. Many of the articles found in this database may also be in Project Muse and/or JSTOR.
Librarian Talk about the Internet!
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GETTING HELP FOR YOUR ASSIGNMENT
GETTING HELP FOR YOUR ASSIGNMENT
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