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A History of English Prose Fiction by Tuckerman

Footnote 156 See Daniel Defoe


When

"Robinson Crusoe" had attained celebrity, Defoe claimed that it was an allegory of his own life. A parallel might easily be drawn between the isolation of the solitary sailor on his island, and that of the persecuted author in the heart of a great city. All the world, and particularly his literary brethren, had been against Defoe. Pope had put him into the "Dunciad," Swift had spoken of him as "the fellow who was pilloried, I forget his name," He had known oppression and poverty, the pillory and the prison. He has left us his own view of the aim of "Robinson Crusoe."[160] "Here is invincible patience recommended under the worst of misery; indefatigable application and undaunted resolution under the greatest and most discouraging circumstances." And such is the moral of Defoe's own life.

Mrs. Heywood had written a number of stories[161] resembling, in the licentiousness of their character and the flimsiness of their construction, the novels of Mrs. Behn. Toward the end of her life she wrote "Miss Betsey Thoughtless," which is believed to have suggested to Miss Burney some of the incidents in "Evelina." This novel was exceedingly popular, and had some merit, considering the period of its composition. It is among the earliest specimens of a domestic novel; the plot has interest, and the characters are life-like. It illustrates, if any illustration were needed, the prevailing absence of any elevated view, either of love, or of the relations between

men and women. The book is made up of easy seductions and licentious talk, and represents its youthful characters as very familiar with dissolute scenes and thoughts.

[Footnote 151: "Julius Caesar," Act. I, sc. 2. Quoted in Scott's "Life of Swift." For Swift, see also "Life" by Sheridan, by Roscoe, and by Forster.]

[Footnote 152: "Life of Swift."]

[Footnote 153: Sir W. Scott. "Life of Swift."]

[Footnote 154: See "Life of Swift," by Scott.]

[Footnote 155: Wilson "Life of Defoe." Lee, "Life of Defoe."]

[Footnote 156: See "Daniel Defoe," by William Minto, p. 135. American edition.]

[Footnote 157: William Minto, "Life of Defoe," p. 134:--"From writing biographies with real names attached to them, it was but a short step to writing biographies with fictitious names."]

[Footnote 158: "Memoir of Defoe," William Hazlitt, p. 30.]

[Footnote 159: See the preface to "Moll Flanders."]

[Footnote 160: Preface to the "Serious Reflections of Robinson Crusoe."]

[Footnote 161: "Love in Excess," "The British Recluse," "The Injured Husband," "Jenny and Jemmy Bessamy," "The Fortunate Foundling."]

III.

Samuel Richardson might have stood for Hogarth's "Industrious Apprentice." When a printer's boy, young Samuel stole from his hours of rest and relaxation the time to improve his mind. He was careful not to tire himself by sitting up too late at night over his books, and purchased his own candles, so that his master, who called him the "pillar of his house," might suffer no injury from his servant's improvement.[162] Thus Richardson persevered in the path of virtue, until, like the "Industrious Apprentice," himself, he married his master's daughter, succeeded to his business, and lived happy and respected, surrounded by all the blessings which should fall to the lot of the truly good.


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