Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Moll Flanders” as Want to Read:
Moll Flanders
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

Moll Flanders

3.49  ·  Rating Details ·  32,160 Ratings  ·  1,122 Reviews
Defoe wrote this after his work as a journalist and pamphleteer. By 1722, Defoe had become recognised as a novelist, with the success of Robinson Crusoe in 1719. His political work was tapering off at this point, due to the fall of both Whig and Tory party leaders with whom he had been associated; Robert Walpole was beginning his rise, and Defoe was never fully at home wit ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 29th 2009 by Arcturus (first published 1721)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Moll Flanders, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Melody Williams
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
Paul Bryant
Mar 21, 2016 Paul Bryant rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
It is an universall and Fixed law that should a reader take up any of the works of Master De Foe she shall be obbliged to begin forthwith to write and may I say even to think in the manner of Master De Foe; for it is like a virulent infecktion; which will, it may be seen redilly, be habituated in exentrick spellings, irregular Capitilizations, alarming and unexplainable lunges into the italick; and headlong sentense construction, and the Devil take the hindmost. Mistress Moll Flanderses tale sel ...more
Jan 26, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it really liked it  ·  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
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
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
Feb 17, 2010 Ellen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
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 ba
Sep 12, 2007 Pinky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
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
Jul 01, 2010 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 05, 2007 Frederick rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Nov 06, 2012 Cass rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 09, 2008 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 26, 2007 Katharine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c18
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.
Paula W
Jul 14, 2016 Paula W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I was younger, I was a smart girl but not smart enough to get a full scholarship to college. My parents were poor, so any help from them was out of the question. I knew I had to make it on my own. So, I worked three jobs during my freshman year. I worked at White Castle, I typed stuff for attorneys, and I did another job that I have never told anyone about until now. I was Mrs. Claus.

I worked for a company that had dozens of Mrs. Clauses who would call children during the holiday season. I
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
Feb 26, 2016 El rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to El by: The Novel.
(I read this book as part of a reading project I have undertaken with some other nerdy friends in which we read The Novel: A Biography and some of the other texts referenced by Schmidt.)

I have long said, "Oh, yeah, I've read Moll Flanders!" I have it in my head I read it in college, either on my own or as part of a class.

Now that I actually have read Moll Flanders, I can't seem to recall ever reading this story before. I think the reality was I borrowed a friend's copy of Stephen Crane's Maggie:
Oct 09, 2010 Donna rated it did not like it  ·  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.
" ... my pride, not my principle,
my money, not my virtue, kept me honest... "
The copy of Moll Flanders that I read --a Modern Library issue, from 1985-- has the most perfect rendition of the heroine I have seen. A library copy and purely a random chance, but there she is--in wood-cut, in all her disheveled, coarsely hedonistic splendor. One high-buttoned boot hooked up high on the arm of some couch, Moll Flanders, consummate whore. Or hussy, or harlot, or maybe floozy, but it is most often as
Jan 06, 2009 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
This is the Diary of a penitent Sinner. We know she was Penitent because she tells Us repeatedly, despite the fact that she continues to Sin with a Reckless abandonment that should be Enjoyable but is not, Really. She essentially Runs around London prostituting herself for Around forty years, and stealing from people, insisting that she feels Bad while showing no evidence of feeling so. There is some Enjoyment to be had in its depiction of the completely Unstoppable "Mrs. Flanders" (not her Real ...more
Noelia Alonso
Oct 27, 2015 Noelia Alonso rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Words cannot express how happy I am I'm finally able to throw this book aside to never pick it up again. Nothing of this novel worked for me, starting with the odd writing style. It was painful and more often than not I had to put it down because it was giving me headaches. The narrator, Moll, didn't work to help the story either. Moll Flanders was a torture and I don't care why it is still studied today. My feelings won't change.
Marlin Elina
I enjoyed the last part most. 50-year-old extraordinarily skilled/lucky con-woman working in late 17th century London? Yes please. That said, I wasn't a fan of the writing style (although I grew used to it.) It oftentimes reads more like a summary than a novel, neglecting the fleshing out of setting and characters almost entirely. (I guess this stood out to me in particular since I read this right after Jane Eyre.)
Ahmad Sharabiani
Moll Flanders, Daniel Defoe
The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders. Who was Born in Newgate Prison, and during a Life of continued Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife, Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew rich, lived Honest, and died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums.
کامیابیها و شکستهای مل (مول) فلاندرز معروف (مشهور)؛
Sarah Anne
This was a fun and funny story. Moll is an interesting character because she starts out conventionally and then heads down a less moral path early on, slowly picking up speed along the way. Her tales are sometimes so outlandish (Oops! I married my own brother!) that it's hard to believe that this could all happen to one person. Perhaps it isn't so outlandish when you consider that the book covered nearly 70 years.

I got many, many laughs out of this book, but I also thought it was remarkable in a
Aug 09, 2015 Milena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Koliko je u svom pionirstvu veliki ovaj roman, toliko je maestralan prevod Borivoja Nedića iz 1960. godine.
Volela bih da sam pročitala ovaj roman pre nego što sam imala prilike da stanem pred grob ovog čoveka pre nekoliko godina, ali recimo da mu ni ovako nisam ostala dužna u iskazivanju poštovanja. :-) Defoe rules! :-P
May 04, 2016 Zozetta rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Ψάχνοντας να διαβάσω ένα βιβλίο γραμμένο πριν το 1850 για το readathon16, έπεσα πάνω σε αυτό το βιβλίο του Daniel Defoe του οποίου είχα διαβάσει τον Ροβινσώνα Κρούσο μόνο. Αποφάσισα να το διαβάσω λοιπόν λόγω του συγγραφέα. Η Moll Flanders γράφτηκε το 1683 και πρέπει κανείς να το λάβει σοβαρά υπόψη αυτό πριν κάνει κάποια κριτική γιατί με τα σημερινά δεδομένα μάλλον μοιάζει με βιβλίο παρωχημένο τόσο θεματικά όσο και συγγραφικά. Θα το αδικούσε όμως κάποιος έτσι.

Πρόκειται για την ιστορία μιας γ
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
Apr 09, 2015 Judith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned

The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the famous Moll Flanders, etc. who was Born in Newgate, and during a Life of continu'd Variety for Three-score 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

...which sums up the story line of the novel, leaving out the best parts.

I first read this book when I was 16, in the throes of Jad
Jun 16, 2013 Cherie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Travelling Sunny
I'm torn with this rating, but in the end, I can only say the book was OK. I think if I had read this a hundred years ago, it would have been a 3 or 4 star book. I was amused at Moll's antics, and with her logic. I can even relate to her. A little. Maybe.

Plus, I enjoyed counting up the pregnancies and trying to keep track of which kids were where and wtih whom. I mean, really, if you don't take it too seriously, it was kind of funny and outlandish.

But, in the end, I just wasn't gripped with the
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Please add secondary author 4 14 Oct 09, 2015 06:04PM  
You'll love this ...: June 2013 - Moll Flanders 29 78 Dec 15, 2014 11:02AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Moll Flanders (9781857150322) 2 19 Aug 21, 2014 05:11AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Alternatve book cover 2 13 Jul 29, 2014 03:02PM  
  • Joseph Andrews / Shamela
  • The Adventures of Roderick Random
  • Love in Excess
  • Julie, or the New Heloise
  • The Female Quixote
  • The Vicar of Wakefield
  • Camilla
  • A Sentimental Journey
  • Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and Other Tales of New York
  • Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus
  • Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure
  • Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded
  • The Unfortunate Traveller and Other Works
  • Caleb Williams
  • Adam Bede
  • Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship
  • The Man of Feeling
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 ...more
More about Daniel Defoe...

Share This Book

“I saw the Cloud, though I did not foresee the Storm.” 78 likes
“I am giving an account of what was, not of what ought or ought not to be.” 20 likes
More quotes…