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Moll Flanders
 
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Daniel Defoe
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Moll Flanders

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3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  22,149 ratings  ·  858 reviews
The Fortunes & Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders (aka Moll Flanders) is a novel by Daniel Defoe, 1st published in 1722. It purports to be the true account of the life of the eponymous Moll, detailing her exploits from birth until old age.
By 1721, Defoe had become a recognised novelist, with the success of Robinson Crusoe in 1719. His political work was tapering...more
Softcover, 356 pages
Published 1962 by Holt, Rinehart & Winston (first published 1721)
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karen
the person who was reading this used, 49 cent, copy of moll flanders before me stopped reading at page 26, judging by the abrupt cessation of circled words like "prattle", "would you were, sir", "brother fell", and "he would" i like to think about this person, and their busy pen. it's so arbitrary - they are not even words that might be unfamiliar to a moderately-literate reader. i tried to find a code in it: "help, i am being held hostage by a mad librarian", but to no avail. almost every page...more
Shovelmonkey1
Jan 26, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like a lady with attitude
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list and a BBC adaptation
Moll Flanders; the tale of a bawdy wench out and about being bawdy and getting up to all manner of, well, bawdiness. For those of you not up on your ye olde Englishness, bawdy is a general term for something which is lewd, obscene and lascivious. If you don't know what any of those words mean then Moll Flanders will be a nice surprise for you (and maybe you should get out more).

Moll is essentially a working girl on the make but really she's just trying to find Mr Right and settle down with a nic...more
Whitaker
Did I enjoy this novel? No. In some ways, its story and writing technique are far too rudimentary for a 21st century reader. It certainly didn't grab me the way other books have. But I think if you want to see how the novel got from there to here, you can't pass this by.

Because reading Moll Flanders is like watching the grainy footage of a home video of your lover at five years old. You can see the gestures and traits that make up the person today, but only sketched out in infant form. You have...more
Ellen
The Fortunes & Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders &c.
Who was Born in Newgate, and during a Life of continu'd Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest, and dies a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums . . .
Original title page for Moll Flanders

The character of Moll Flanders has traditionally baf...more
Rose
3 things I liked about this book:
1. Moll's distinctive character and voice
2. Her ability to turn almost any situation into a positive, eventually (Moll Flanders wobbles, but she never falls down!)
3. How the book highlighted the difficult positions a woman could be left in during this period as a result of, for example, becoming widowed with children, not having a husband/family to support her, having illegitimate children, or being married and thus all personal property legally belonging to the...more
Jason
Women! You need to read this book. Armchair Historians! You need to read this book. Forensic Sociologists! You need to read this book.

Moll Flanders is, I think, a rare look at the treatment and disposition of lower class women in Britain in the early 1700s--what they thought, how they comported, and their daily interactions, no matter how insignificant. What makes it a rare exposition? Fiction ofttimes captures the mood and milieu of a people and their condition far more accurately--and with muc...more
Pinky
Ever wondered what the significance of Ned Flander's wife's name on the Simpons?
Moll Flanders is about a woman that not only fell on hard times, but is a strong, self asserted woman that uses any possible wiles to survive in a time when women were still nothing more than trinkets. She goes from reputable, to the London street slum, to accidentally marrying her brother, to living a long life with one that she loves.
Far beyond its time, Moll Flanders is a classic. Hard to read at times, as is most...more
Frederick
Jul 05, 2007 Frederick rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody interested in the history of the novel or inspirations for James Joyce.
Shelves: novels, defoe
This, of course, was called an actual memoir when it was published. Today's novelists should take note: The first novels definitely were meant to deceive the public into thinking they were true stories.
The Norton Critical Edition I read in college was one soild paragraph. This means Defoe didn't get an effect out of the LOOK of his prose, unless an effect of incredible suffocation was intentional. The fact that it was one paragraph drove me insane, as it did my elder brother, who, upon hearing...more
Jim
Amusing, picaresque portrait of an unsrupulous antiherione (the narrator) in 17th century England and America. She lies, she steals, she whores - whatever it takes.

I, and I suspect she, lost track of how many children she has by an assortment of fathers, but no matter. The fact that there are no separate chapters may daunt some, but her amoral, approach to all her conflicts is most satisfing and you root for her to succeed.
Katharine
Last year I described this book as being like a big gushy Cinnabon, sweet, sticky, and cloying. I love it to bits, but it does make me feel like I need to wash, or something.
Cass
I finally finished reading Moll Flanders, and I loved it.

I have heard such negative reviews about this book. I have heard it said that the heroine is not likeable. She is painted as a whore and a thief. I came away with an entirely different view.

Her character hooked me from the start. A beautiful and skillful woman, she is intelligent but unworldly. She meets with great success in the beginning of the book due to her own personal accomplishments, aspirations, and personality. She takes what lit...more
Daniel
Despite being one of the earliest English novels, and thus from a time incredibly different from our own, Daniel Defoe's "Moll Flanders" sucked me into its world far more readily than I expected it to. I attribute this mostly to the voice of Moll Flanders herself, who is so good natured, and so ready to make the best of whatever situation she finds herself in, it'd be hard not to become enamored of her. Because Moll's society is so far removed from ours -- the book was written in 1722 -- and bec...more
Lisa
Moll Flanders first and formost challenges ones conception of right and wrong. Do the ends (survival) justify the means (whatever deception or crime it takes to secure it). In the past, I have always been one to argue, emphatically, that no, there is no such thing as situational ethics. Yet, as I read this book, i realized that my thoughts on this came from a life of ease, in a society of justice and equal oportunity. I am left thanking God that I was not a woman, especially one fallen on hard t...more
Kelly
Largely confusing, frenetic action interspersed with long, prosy, preachy morality lessons, and then plunged right back into constant action again. Defoe's storytelling appears almost entirely random, especially towards the end, picking out one tale to tell of her wicked ways and days, and suppressing others that sound much more interesting. There's hardly any reflection on character here, if any at all. I'm not counting the times when Defoe pauses to lecture his audience on God's mercy while ha...more
Donna
Oct 09, 2010 Donna rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of classics
Recommended to Donna by: myself
My first thoughts on the reason why I disliked this book were that it was because of the old style of writing, but considering Shakespeare, Marlowe, Ford and Cervantes all provided enjoyable works before Defoe was on the scene, I therefore must look to the writer's skill as a fault in itself.
I don't believe 'Moll Flanders' to be a well crafted story. This is mainly due to the fact that the protagonist's many displays of 'dumb luck' leave an air of contrivance which contaminates the entire novel....more
Janet
If Robinson Crusue can be Betteridge's handbook for life (The Moonstone), I think Moll Flanders may become mine. I can't see DeFoe as a reliable woman's voice, but he brings a curiously apt man's perspective to how women should view -- and treat -- men, which in itself is worth the price of the book. Perhaps the biggest "tell" that Moll's voice was not truly a woman's voice was the cavalier manner in which she told of the births/lives/deaths of her -- what? -- twelve or thirteen children. (I los...more
Christina
When I was a teenager, I read Robinson Crusoe several times and I really liked it. So when I was in Brighton in 1994 to study English, I picked up several books in a cheap Wordsworth edition. One of these was Moll Flanders, and although it sounded good, I mostly picked it up because of Defoe being the author. And let me just say, right off the bat, this is nothing like Robinson Crusoe. And not just because of the obvious differences in the stories. No, I thought Crusoe was a really great story –...more
Rebecca
Jun 24, 2007 Rebecca rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: a select few
Shelves: classics
i am struggling to finish this book. it will be one of those that i muscle through till the end simply because i am stubborn and like to finish things (like books). i expected it to be like Robinson Crusoe, which had a crude beginning but really picked up and developed the plot and character(s). This book, however, is more depressing than anything else. after all, how can one feel uplifted by reading the about the bad decisions and circumstances of a woman who is not entirely a victim of fate? s...more
Lisa James
The story of a good girl gone wrong is timeless. To see it happen in Victorian England is rather eye opening. You really get smacked in the face with the horrible choices women had to make in those days, & makes us modern women thankful that we have many more rights & choices available to us. So even though the story did have it's humorous anecdotes, as told by the irrepressible Moll Flanders, it's really rather sad if you think about it. I ended up having to admire Moll as a character f...more
Fiona Robson
I absolutely HATED this book!!!! And I only read it because it was one of the “1001 Books you Need to Read Before you Die”. What a load of utter bilge it was. I expected a bit of a bawdy romp, but instead it was just a badly written dirge of a loose woman’s life.

I’m thinking that Defoe wrote it to highlight the plight of women during that era and there were so little choices available to them. However, this is an insult to all of the Godly women at the time who managed without incest, prostituti...more
Lavinia
One of my latest revelations regarding books is that I somehow need to pay my respects to the 17th century classics. That is, read some of the novels I should have read years ago, books most people read as teenagers or at least in college, where they (some of them) are mandatory. Having waltzed very skilfully among them when I needed to, because - blame it on taste - I was never ever attracted by picaresque novels, it's high time I did something about it.

So, ladies and gents, I give you Moll Fla...more
Sath
Moll Flanders was originally written as though it were a memoir, although it is actually fiction. I think this was a habit of Defoe's, and a trend at the time.

Moll is born into poverty, being the child of a convicted criminal, she was born in Newgate Prison and raised in a sort of poorhouse. But at a young age determined that she wanted to become a gentlewoman, her idea of such being that a gentlewoman is simply a woman that can look after herself. And Moll pretty much holds herselfs to this ide...more
Robert
At one point in their lives, everyone should read "Moll Flanders". Some might dislike this book because it uses old English and is hard to understand. Others may find that this enhances the story and makes the reader feel as if he lived at that time. I relate moreso to the latter. If anyone ever decides to read this book, I stongly suggest to do a little background research on the setting of the book. This definitely helps one to understand the plot. I found this book very interesting because th...more
Aubrey
2.5/5
I liked the credit Defoe gave to the heroine, I really did. He was able to see clearly into the plight of women during a time when their only source of living was either to marry well, or find work through less than savory means. Moll's time period as a thief was also greatly entertaining. But ultimately, the plot plodded for most of the book, and Defoe's writing style didn't help that at all. The circumstances were also slightly unbelievable at parts, especially near the end; it all ended...more
Lorna
Moll Flanders, the assumed identity of a notorious thief tells her life story in this book by Daniel Defoe author of Robinson Crusoe.
The daughter of a deported criminal, first adopted by gypsies, then taken in by a "mother" in a children's boarding house she ends up being taken in by a wealthy patron.
This is where Moll's innocence is first corrupted by the eldest son of the family and from then on it is a life of numourous liasons, marriages, copious amounts of children. What else is a poor wenc...more
Reggia
Bad luck followed by bad company followed by bad choices followed by more bad luck followed by worse choices and worse luck followed by a wee bit of good luck gotten by bad means working its way toward a somewhat good end, at least for the protagonist, and good for me because now this bad book is over.
Beth
I did not expect Moll Flanders, written in the 1720s, to be such an easy read. Moll Flanders, which she tells us is not her real name, started life in the early 17th century with no advantages. The child of a woman arrested while pregnant, she was given into the care of strangers from the start. As would be expected, her life did not go smoothly, although her beauty and intelligence allowed her to make the most of opportunities that presented themselves. At first, she was simply unfortunate, and...more
Vasha7
In full, the title page of this novel reads The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, &c. Who was Born in Newgate, and during a Life of continu'd Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest, and died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums. This plot summary doesn't indicate the most intere...more
Cherie
I am sorry, but I cannot give this book more than the two stars. This is the second or third time I have read the book, and I pretty much feel the same way about it this time reading it for a group read. I thought the story was interesting from a historical perspective, but I did not feel any compulsion to really like the person that the story was about. I felt sorry for her, yes. For her poverty and poor beginning. I felt sorry about the way she was treated and lead on by the oldest son of the...more
Ed
Having dealt more or less successfully with my long standing but poorly thought out aversion to 18th century English poetry I though I would try a few novels beginning with "Moll Flanders".

The syntax is less florid and circumambulatory than I had assumed. Moll is terrific--it is as easy for the reader to fall in love with her as it was for her five husbands--one, of course, was her long lost and unrecognized until too late brother. She has an unsurpassed eye for the main chance and is willing t...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Moll Flanders (9781857150322) 2 18 Aug 21, 2014 05:11AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Alternatve book cover 2 12 Jul 29, 2014 03:02PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Alternative Book Cover 2 7 Jul 29, 2014 11:17AM  
Female characters' sexuality... 3 37 Aug 24, 2013 04:08AM  
Rogues and Romant...: Fortunes and Misfortunes of a woman 1 4 Aug 10, 2013 04:10AM  
You'll love this ...: June 2013 - Moll Flanders 28 52 Jul 01, 2013 10:26AM  
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Daniel Defoe (1659/1661 [?] - 1731) was an English writer, journalist, and spy, who gained enduring fame for his novel Robinson Crusoe. Defoe is notable for being one of the earliest practitioners of the novel and helped popularize the genre in Britain. In some texts he is even referred to as one of the founders, if not the founder, of the English novel. A prolific and versatile writer, he wrote m...more
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“I saw the Cloud, though I did not foresee the Storm.” 49 likes
“I am giving an account of what was, not of what ought or ought not to be.” 15 likes
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