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2 March 1989
The Canonisation of Daniel Defoe 
by P.N. Furbank and W.R. Owens.
Yale, 210 pp., £20, February 1988, 0 300 04119 5
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The ‘Tatler’: Vols I-III 
edited by Donald Bond.
Oxford, 590 pp., £60, July 1987, 0 19 818614 2
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The ‘Spectator’: Vols I-V 
edited by Donald Bond.
Oxford, 512 pp., £55, October 1987, 9780198186106
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... tells concerns the unplanned growth of the canon of Defoe’s works, which has sprawled from a hundred items to something like six times that figure in the last two centuries. P.N. Furbank and W.R.Owens take us through the stages of this galloping hypertrophy more in sorrow than in anger, but they leave no doubt that the guilty men who have swollen the corpus with their rash attributions have been ...

Restless Daniel

John Mullan: Defoe

20 July 2006
The Life of Daniel Defoe: A Critical Biography 
by John Richetti.
Blackwell, 406 pp., £50, December 2005, 0 631 19529 7
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A Political Biography of Daniel Defoe 
by P.N. Furbank and W.R. Owens.
Pickering & Chatto, 277 pp., £60, January 2006, 1 85196 810 5
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... absolutist tendencies. For Defoe, the Revolution had been Glorious indeed. His opposition to the doctrine of divine right shaped all his political views. Jure Divino was designed to be a work to do justice to a lofty subject. It runs to some eight thousand lines of verse, plus a lengthy preface and substantial buttonholing footnotes, where Defoe explicates historical references or ...
13 June 1991
Literature and Liberation: Selected Essays 
by Arnold Kettle, edited by Graham Martin and W.R. Owens.
Manchester, 231 pp., £9.95, February 1991, 9780719027734
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... more than seven hundred books under some twenty different names. (He also found time to found a political party called rather grandly the All Party Alliance, although a wit said that his only allies were Anthony Morton, Gordon Ashe, Michael Halliday and other Creasey pseudonyms.) His books were popular but not highly regarded, and this worried and baffled him. Why, he asked me once, was there thought ...
19 April 1990
Daniel Defoe: His Life 
by Paula Backscheider.
Johns Hopkins, 671 pp., £20.50, November 1989, 0 8018 3785 5
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... mercantile activities as hosier, brick-and-tile manufacturer, wine-importer, horse-dealer, salt-factor, oyster-farmer, perfumier, linen-trader, timber-merchant etc etc, and his extensive espionage work on behalf of Robert Harley, Defoe was an indefatigable writer. Peter Earle, in the introduction to The World of Defoe (1976), confesses the alarm he experienced when ‘with the contract signed, I ...

Fugitive Crusoe

Tom Paulin: Daniel Defoe

19 July 2001
Daniel Defoe: Master of Fictions 
by Maximilian Novak.
Oxford, 756 pp., £30, April 2001, 0 19 812686 7
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Political and Economic Writings of Daniel Defoe 
edited by W.R. Owens and P.N. Furbank.
Pickering & Chatto, £595, December 2000, 1 85196 465 7
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... a necessary journalistic strategy – he emerges in Maximilian Novak’s powerful account of his life and career as a principled radical whose seemingly protean changes of direction and allegiance were always in the service of the polity founded by the Glorious Revolution. Defoe boasted of wearing a mourning ring that had been given at the funeral of Christopher Love, a Presbyterian minister ...

Whig Dreams

Margaret Anne Doody

27 February 1992
A Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain 
by Daniel Defoe, edited by P.N. Furbank and W.R. Owens.
Yale, 423 pp., £19.95, July 1991, 0 300 04980 3
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James Thomson: A Life 
by James Sambrook.
Oxford, 332 pp., £40, October 1991, 0 19 811788 4
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... of a revolutionary book. Defoe was writing a travel book for businessmen and for Dissenters. He is quick to notice where an Anglican church is dilapidated or little attended, and he gives warm notice to flourishing meeting-houses – including Quaker meeting-houses. This is in an era when there were still penalties imposed on Dissenters, who could not attend the universities or hold any ...

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