Defoe is an author still being assessed critically. It is not certain that he wrote the 566 works assigned to him by John Robert Moore in the 1971 edition of his .
Critics are even in the precarious position of not knowing if Defoe is merely a creature we have put together in our heads from works that may or may not be by him.
(1697) was the first volume published by Daniel Defoe. It begins with a portrait of his time as a "Projecting Age" and subsequently illustrates plans for the economic and social improvement of England, including an early proposal for a national insurance scheme.
As the son of a butcher in 17th-century England, he grew up without the advantages of wealth and education that other writers enjoyed.
By presenting himself as advocating God’s will rather than his own, Defoe raises the stakes of the issue in the minds of his Christian readership. If you’re going “to make such a bold assertion, That all the world are mistaken…,” you need some incontestable authority backing you up.
Defoe never argues against religion overall, but he does pointedly object to the plan laid out by his contemporary, Mary Astell, who envisioned women’s education taking place in seminaries.Daniel Defoe was born Daniel Foe in 1660 in London, the son of a butcher (he began to use “Defoe” more frequently beginning in 1696).Defoe became a merchant but went bankrupt in 1692 and left the world of business in 1703.Defoe was an acclaimed and prolific pamphleteer and journalist who wrote scabrous attacks on supporters of King William III and Queen Anne, William’s successor.Defoe was often imprisoned for his inflammatory writings.The essay shows its age most as it concludes, reassuring readers that educated women will know better than to interfere in government and other male arenas.Lily Carroll works for a non-profit children's literacy organization.Defoe mentions women’s souls as evidence of their fundamental equality to men before God — not as items requiring improvement.He recognizes there is a concern that women out and about in the world put their personal safety and virtue at risk, but he deems a school modeled on a nunnery to be oppressive.The essay, while impressively forward-thinking, contains elements that are sexist by today’s standards.Defoe appeals to men’s self-interest as frequently, if not more frequently, as he does to their moral and ethical obligations.