Author

Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe
  • “I presume we need make no Apology for giving the Name of a History to the following Sheets, though they contain nothing but the Actions of a Parcel of Robbers.” —from the book

    This work was published in 1724 under the pseudonym Captain Charles Johnson by an unknown British author, usually assumed to be Daniel DeFoe. This work is the prime source for the biographies of many well-known pirates of that era and shaped the popular notions about pirates of the day. Included are Blackbeard, Black Bart, Jolly Roger, Anne Bonny (a.k.a. Anne Bonn), Edward Teach, Henry Avery, Mary Read, and many more.

  • Shipwrecked and cast ashore on an uninhabited island, Robinson Crusoe ingeniously carves out a solitary, primitive existence for twenty-four years. Eventually, he meets a young native whom he saves from death at the hands of cannibals. He calls him Friday and makes him his companion and servant. Crusoe and Friday share in a variety of adventures, including a fierce battle with cannibals that culminates in the heroes recapturing a mutinous ship and returning to England.

    Based partly on the real-life experiences of Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk, Defoe’s novel of human endurance in an exotic, faraway land exerts a timeless appeal and has taken its rightful place among the great works of Western civilization.

  • Possibly the first novel in the English language, Moll Flanders is the fictional autobiography of a delightfully scandalous young female rogue. Born in Newgate Prison in seventeenth-century England, Moll is predestined to poverty and lawlessness, yet relentlessly driven to overcome her fate. Donning whatever mask suits her best in the moment, she appraises theft, prostitution, and bigamy only in terms of their profit potential, her indomitable will undaunted by her bad luck. Eventually, however, a moral sense begins to intrude.

    Defoe creates a narrative that brilliantly commentates on morality and self-reliance within the period in which it is set.