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Moll Flanders (Anglais) Broché – 26 juillet 2007

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The History and Misfortunes of the

Famous Moll Flanders, &c. My True Name is so well known in the Records, or Registers at Newgate, and in the Old-Baily,1 and there are some things of such Consequence still depending there, relating to my particular Conduct, that it is not to be expected I should set my Name, or the Account of my Family to this Work; perhaps, after my Death it may be better known, at present it would not be proper, no, not tho’ a general Pardon should be issued, even without Exceptions and reserve of Persons or Crimes.

It is enough to tell you, that as some of my worst Comrades, who are out of the Way of doing me Harm, having gone out of the World by the Steps, and the String2 as I often expected to go, know me by the Name of Moll Flanders; so you may give me leave to speak of myself, under that Name till I dare own who I have been, as well as who I am.

I have been told, that in one of our Neighbour Nations, whether it be in France, or where else, I know not; they have an Order from the King, that when any Criminal is condemn’d, either to Die, or to the Gallies, or to be Transported, if they leave any Children, as such are generally unprovided for, by the Poverty or Forfeiture of their Parents; so they are immediately taken into the Care of the Government, and put into an Hospital call’d the House of Orphans, where they are Bred up, Cloath’d, Fed, Taught, and when fit to go out, are plac’d out to Trades, or to Services, so as to be well able to provide for themselves by an honest industrious Behaviour.

Had this been the Custom in our Country, I had not been left a poor desolate Girl without Friends, without Cloaths, without Help or Helper in the World, as was my Fate; and by which, I was not only expos’d to very great Distresses, even before I was capable, either of Understanding my Case, or how to Amend it, nor brought into a Course of Life, which was not only scandalous in itself, but, which in its ordinary Course, tended to the swift Destruction both of Soul and Body.

But the Case was otherwise here, my Mother was convicted of Felony for a certain petty Theft, scarce worth naming, (viz.) Having an opportunity of borrowing three Pieces of fine Holland,3 of a certain Draper4 in Cheapside:5 The Circumstances are too long to repeat, and I have heard them related so many Ways, that I can scarce be certain, which is the right Account.

However it was, this they all agree in, that my Mother pleaded her Belly,6 and being found quick with Child; she was respited for about seven Months, in which time having brought me into the World, and being about again, she was call’d Down,7 as they term it, to her former Judgment, but obtain’d the Favour of being Transported to the Plantations, and left me about Half a Year old; and in bad Hands you may be sure.

This is too near the first Hours of my Life, for me to relate any thing of myself, but by hear say, ’tis enough to mention, that as I was born in such an unhappy Place, I had no Parish8 to have Recourse to for my Nourishment in my Infancy, nor can I give the least Account how I was kept alive; other, than that as I have been told, some Relation of my Mothers took me away for a while as a Nurse, but at whose Expence, or by whose Direction I know nothing at all of it.

The first account that I can Recollect, or could ever learn of myself, was, that I had wandred among a Crew of those People they call Gypsies, or Egyptians;9 but I believe it was but a very little while that I had been among them, for I had not had my Skin discolour’d, or blacken’d, as they do very young to all the Children they carry about with them, nor can I tell how I came among them, or how I got from them.

It was at Colchester in Essex, that those People left me; and I have a Notion in my Head, that I left them there, (that is, that I hid myself and wou’d not go any farther with them) but I am not able to be particular in that Account; only this I remember, that being taken up by some of the Parish Officers of Colchester, I gave an Account, that I came into the Town with the Gypsies, but that I would not go any farther with them, and that so they had left me, but whether they were gone that I knew not, nor could they expect it of me; for tho’ they sent round the Country to enquire after them, it seems they could not be found.

I was now in a Way to be provided for; for tho’ I was not a Parish Charge upon this, or that part of the Town by Law; yet as my Case came to be known, and that I was too young to do any Work, being not above three Years old, Compassion mov’d the Magistrates of the Town to order some Care to be taken of me, and I became one of their own, as much as if I had been born in the Place.

In the Provision they made for me, it was my good hap to be put to Nurse,10 as they call it, to a Woman who was indeed Poor, but had been in better Circumstances, and who got a little Livelihood by taking such as I was suppos’d to be; and keeping them with all Necessaries, till they were at a certain Age, in which it might be suppos’d they might go to Service, or get their own Bread.

This Woman had also had a little School, which she kept to teach Children to Read and to Work; and having, as I have said, liv’d before that in good Fashion, she bred up the Children she took with a great deal of Art, as well as with a great deal of Care.

But that which was worth all the rest, she bred them up very Religiously, being herself a very sober pious Woman. (2.) Very Housewifly11 and Clean, and, (3.) Very Mannerly, and with good Behaviour: So that in a Word, excepting a plain Diet, course Lodging, and mean Cloaths, we were brought up as Mannerly and as Genteely, as if we had been at the Dancing-School.

I was continu’d here till I was eight years Old, when I was terrified with News, that the Magistrates, as I think they call’d them, had order’d that I should go to Service; I was able to do but very little Service where ever I was to go, except it was to run of Errands, and be a Druge to some Cook-Maid, and this they told me of often, which put me into a great Fright; for I had a thorough Aversion to going to Service, as they call’d it, that is to be a Servant, tho’ I was so young; and I told my Nurse, as we call’d her, that I believ’d I could get my Living without going to Service if she pleas’d to let me; for she had Taught me to Work with my Needle, and Spin Worsted, which is the chief Trade of that City, and I told her that if she wou’d keep me, I wou’d Work for her, and I would Work very hard.

I talk’d to her almost every Day of Working hard; And in short, I did nothing but Work and Cry all Day, which griev’d the good kind Woman so much, that at last she began to be concern’d for me, for she lov’d me very well.

One Day after this, as she came into the Room, where all we poor Children were at Work, she sat down just over against12 me, not in her usual Place as Mistress, but as if she set herself on purpose to observe me, and see me Work: I was doing something she had set me to, as I remember, it was Marking13 some Shirts, which she had taken to Make, and after a while she began to Talk to me: Thou foolish Child, says she, thou art always Crying; (for I was Crying then) prethee, What doest Cry for? because they will take me away, says I, and put me to Service, and I can’t Work House-Work; well Child, says she, but tho’ you can’t Work House-Work, as you call it, you will learn it in time, and they won’t put you to hard Things at first; yes they will, says I, and if I can’t do it, they will Beat me, and the Maids will Beat me to make me do great Work, and I am but a little Girl, and I can’t do it, and then I cry’d again, till I could not speak any more to her.

This mov’d my good Motherly Nurse, so that she from that time resolv’d I should not go to Service yet, so she bid me not Cry, and she wou’d speak to Mr. Mayor, and I should not go to Service till I was bigger.

Well, this did not Satisfie me, for to think of going to Service, was such a frightful Thing to me, that if she had assur’d me I should not have gone till I was 20 years old, it wou’d have been the same to me, I shou’d have cry’d, I believe all the time, with the very Apprension of its being to be so at last.

When she saw that I was not pacify’d yet, she began to be angry with me, and what wou’d you have? says she, don’t I tell you that you shall not go to Service till you are bigger? Ay, says I, but then I must go at last, why, what? said she, is the Girl mad? what, would you be a Gentlewoman? Yes says I, and cry’d heartily, till I roar’d out again.

This set the old Gentlewoman a Laughing at me, as you may be sure it would: Well, Madam forsooth, says she, Gibing at me, you would be a Gentlewoman, and pray how will you come to be a Gentlewoman? what, will you do it by your Fingers Ends?

Yes, says I again, very innocently.

Why, what can you Earn, says she, what can you get at your Work?

Three-Pence, said I, when I Spin, and 4 d. when I Work plain Work.14

Alas! poor Gentlewoman, said she again, Laughing, what will that do for thee?

It will keep me, says I, if you will let me live with you; and this I said, in such a poor petitioning Tone, that it made the poor Womans Heart yearn to me, as she told me afterwards.

But, says she, that will not keep you, and buy you Cloaths too; and who must buy the little Gentlewoman Cloaths, says she, and smil’d all the while at me.

I will Work Harder then, says I, and you shall have it all.

Poor Child! it won’t keep you, says she, it will hardly keep you in Victuals.

Then I will have no Victuals, says I, again very Innocently, let me but live with you.

Why, can you live without Victuals? says she, yes, again says I, very much like a Child, you may be sure, and still I cry’d heartily.

I had no Policy in all this, you may easily see it was all Nature, but it was joyn’d with so much Innocence, and so much Passion, That in short, it set the good Motherly Creature a weeping too, and she cry’d at last as fast as I did, and then took me, and led me out of the teaching Room; come, says she, you shan’t go to Service, you shall live with me, and this pacify’d me for the present.

Sometime after this, she going to wait on the Mayor, and talking of such things as belong’d to her Business, at last my Story came up, and my good Nurse told Mr. Mayor the whole Tale: He was so pleas’d with it, that he would call his Lady, and his two Daughters to hear it, and it made Mirth enough among them, you may besure.

However, not a Week had pass’d over, but on a suddain comes Mrs. Mayoress, and her two Daughters to the House to see my old Nurse, and to see her School and the Children: When they had look’d about them a little: Well, Mrs. —— says the Mayoress to my Nurse; and pray which is the little Lass that intends to be a Gentlewoman? I heard her, and I was terrible frighted at first, tho’ I did not know why neither; but Mrs. Mayoress comes up to me, Well Miss says she, And what are you at Work upon? The Word Miss was a Language that had hardly been heard of in our School, and I wondred what sad Name it was she call’d me; However, I stood up, made a Curtsy, and she took my Work out of my Hand, look’d on it, and said it was very well; then she took up one of my Hands, nay, says she, the Child may come to be a Gentlewoman for ought any body knows, she has a Gentlewoman’s Hand, says she; this pleas’d me mightily you may be sure, but Mrs. Mayoress did not stop there, but giving me my Work again, she put her Hand in her Pocket, gave me a Shilling, and bid me mind my Work, and learn to Work well, and I might be a Gentlewoman for ought she knew.

Now all this while, my good old Nurse, Mrs. Mayoress, and all the rest of them did not understand me at all, for they meant one Sort of thing, by the Word Gentlewoman,15 and I meant quite another; for alas, all I understood by being a Gentlewoman, was to be able to Work for myself, and get enough to keep me without that terrible Bug-bear going to Service, whereas they meant to live Great, Rich, and High, and I know not what.

Well, after Mrs. Mayoress was gone, her two Daughters came in, and they call’d for the Gentlewoman too, and they talk’d a long while to me, and I answer’d them in my Innocent way; but always if they ask’d me whether I resolv’d to be a Gentlewoman, I answer’d Yes: At last one of them ask’d me, what a Gentlewoman was? that puzzel’d me much; but however, I explain’d myself negatively, that it was one that did not go to Service, to do House-Work; they were pleas’d to be familiar me,16 and lik’d my little Prattle to them, which it seems was agreeable enough to them, and they gave me Money too.

As for my Money I gave it all to my Mistress Nurse, as I call’d her, and told her she should have all I got for myself when I was a Gentlewoman, as well as now; by this and some other of my talk, my old Tutress began to understand me, about what I meant by being a Gentlewoman; and that I understood by it to no more, than to be able to get my Bread by my own Work, and at last, she ask’d me whether it was not so.

I told her yes, and insisted on it, that to do so, was to be a Gentlewoman; for says I, there is such a one, naming a Woman that mended Lace, and wash’d the Ladies Lac’d-heads,17 she, says I, is a Gentlewoman, and they call her Madam.

Poor Child, says my good old Nurse, you may soon be such a Gentlewoman as that, for she is a Person of ill Fame, and has had two or three Bastards.

I did not understand any thing of that; but I answer’d, I am sure they call her Madam, and she does not go to Service, nor do House-Work, and therefore I insisted that she was a Gentlewoman, and I would be such a Gentlewoman as that.

The Ladies were told all this again to be sure, and they made themselves Merry with it, and every now and then the young Ladies, Mr. Mayor’s Daughters would come and see me, and ask where the little Gentlewoman was, which made me not a little Proud of myself.

This held a great while, and I was often visited by these young Ladies, and sometimes they brought others with them; so that I was known by it, almost all over the Town.

I was now about ten Years old, and began to look a little Womanish, for I was mighty Grave and Humble; very Mannerly, and as I had often heard the Ladies say I was Pretty, and would be a very handsome Woman, so you may besure, that hearing them say so, made me not a little Proud; however, that Pride had no ill effect upon me yet, only as they often gave me Money, and I gave it my old Nurse, she honest Woman, was so just to me, as to lay it all out again for me, and gave me Head-Dresses, and Linnen, and Gloves and Ribbons, and I went very Neat, and always Clean; for that I would do, and if I had Rags on, I would always be Clean, or else I would dabble them in Water myself; but I say, my good Nurse, when I had Money given me, very honestly laid it out for me, and would always tell the Ladies, this, or that, was bought with their Money; and this made them oftentimes give me more; Till at last, I was indeed call’d upon by the Magistrates as I understood it, to go out to Service; but then I was come to be so good a Workwoman myself, and the Ladies were so kind to me; that it was plain I could maintain myself, that is to say, I could Earn as much for my Nurse as she was able by it to keep me; so she told them, that if they would give her leave, she would keep the Gentlewoman as she call’d me, to be her Assistant, and teach the Children, which I was very well able to do; for I was very nimble at my Work, and had a good Hand with my Needle, though I was yet very young.

But the kindness of the Ladies of the Town did not End here, for when they came to understand that I was no more maintain’d by the publick Allowance, as before, they gave me Money oftner than formerly; and as I grew up, they brought me Work to do for them; such as Linnen to Make, and Laces to Mend, and Heads to Dress up, and not only paid me for doing them, but even taught me how to do them; so that now I was a Gentlewoman indeed, as I understood that Word, and as I understood that Word, and as I desir’d to be, for by that time, I was twelve Years old, I not only found myself Cloaths, and paid my Nurse for my keeping, but got Money in my Pocket too before-hand.

The Ladies also gave me Cloaths frequently of their own, or their Childrens, some Stockings, some Petticoats, some Gowns, some one thing, some another, and these my old Woman Managed for me like a meer18 Mother, and kept them for me, oblig’d me to Mend them, and turn them and twist them to the best Advantage, for she was a rare House-Wife.

At last one of the Ladies took so much Fancy to me, that she would have me Home to her House, for a Month she said, to be among her Daughters.

Now tho’ this was exceeding kind in her, yet as my old good Woman said to her, unless she resolv’d to keep me for good and all, she would do the little Gentlewoman more harm then good: Well, says, the Lady, that’s true, and therefore I’ll only take her Home for a Week then, that I may see how my Daughters and she agree together, and how I like her Temper, and then I’ll tell you more; and in the mean time, if any Body comes to see her as they us’d to do, you may only tell them, you have sent her out to my House.

This was prudently manag’d enough, and I went to the Ladies House, but I was so pleas’d there with the young Ladies, and they so pleas’d with me, that I had enough to do to come away, and they were as unwilling to part with me.

However, I did come away, and liv’d almost a Year more with my honest old Woman, and began now to be very helpful to her; for I was almost fourteen Years old, was tall of my Age, and look’d a little Womanish; but I had such a Tast of Genteel living at the Ladies House, that I was not so easie in my old Quarters as I us’d to be, and I thought it was fine to be a Gentlewoman indeed, for I had quite other Notions of a Gentlewoman now, than I had before; and as I thought, I say, that it was fine to be a Gentlewoman, so I lov’d to be among Gentlewomen, and therefore I long’d to be there again.

About the Time that I was fourteen Years and a quarter Old, my good old Nurse, Mother I ought rather to call her, fell Sick and Dyed; I was then in a sad Condition indeed, for as there is no great Bustle in putting an end to a Poor bodies Family, when once they are carried to the Grave; so the poor good Woman being Buried, the Parish Children she kept were immediately remov’d by the Church-Wardens; the School was at an End, and the Children of it had no more to do but just stay at Home, till they were sent some where else; and as for what she left, her Daughter a married Woman with six or seven Children, came and swept it all away at once, and removing the Goods, they had no more to say to me, than to Jest with me, and tell me, that the little Gentlewoman might set up for her self if she pleas’d.

I was frighted out of my Wits almost, and knew not what to do, for I was, as it were, turn’d out of Doors to the wide World, and that which was still worse, the old honest Woman had two and twenty Shillings of mine in her Hand,19 which was all the Estate the little Gentlewoman had in the World; and when I ask’d the Daughter for it, she huft20 me and laught at me, and told me, she had nothing to do with it.

It was true, the good poor Woman had told her Daughter of it, and that it lay in such a Place, that it was the Child’s Money, and had call’d once or twice for me, to give it me, but I was unhappily out of the way, some where or other; and when I came back she was past being in a Condition to speak of it: However, the Daughter was so Honest afterward as to give it me, tho’ at first she us’d me Cruelly about it.

Now was I a poor Gentlewoman indeed, and I was just that very Night to be turn’d into the wide World; for the Daughter remov’d all the Goods, and I had not so much as a Lodging to go to, or a bit of Bread to Eat: But it seems some of the Neighbours who had known my Circumstances took so much Compassion of me, as to acquaint the Lady in whose Family I had been a Week, as I mention’d above; and immediately she sent her Maid to fetch me away, and two of her Daughters came with the Maid tho’ unsent; so I went with them Bag and Baggage, and with a glad Heart you may besure: The fright of my Condition had made such an Impression upon me, that I did not want now to be a Gentlewoman, but was very willing to be a Servant, and that any kind of Servant they thought fit to have me be.

But my new generous Mistress, for she exceeded the good Woman I was with before, in every Thing, as well as in the matter of Estate; I say in every Thing except Honesty; and for that, tho’ this was a Lady most exactly Just, yet I must not forget to say on all Occasions, that the First tho Poor, was as uprightly Honest as it was possible for any One to be. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Poche .

Revue de presse

“Defoe’s excellence it is, to make me forget my specific class, character, and circumstances, and to raise me while I read him, into the universal man.” —Samuel Taylor Coleridge


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J'ai apprécié le livre Moll flanders de daniel defoe car même s'il fut un peu compliqué a lire car je suis assez jeunes pour lire un telle livre,je trouve qu'il est vraiment extraordinaire...La vie que je me faisais à cet époque était beaucoup moins précise mais cela m'a permis de comprendre un tas de choses.De plus j'ai vu l'adaptation du livre, en film, avec l'une de mes actrices favorites (Alex Kingston)alors le film qui est une très bonne adaptation m'a permis de comprendre certains passage du livre, qui pour moi étaient peu clairs...C'est interressant écrivant de telle livre(d'après ses propres mémorendums)que l'on peu décrire la vie d'autrefois, c'est très enrichissant.
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J'ai détesté Moll Flanders. Puis je me suis rendu compte que ce Roman offrait une vision de la société anglaise et de son système répressif intéressante ( je parle de mémoire... ). Ce roman montre aussi la condition terrible des femmes... qui vient d'ailleurs justifier le vol du collier de la petite fille dans une ruelle au cour duquel Molls Flanders se tourne vers la caméra, dans une adaptation filmique, nous prenant alors à témoin, sans culpabiliser, mettant à ce moment précis du film l'accent sur la dureté de la vie d'autrefois...
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Une histoire claire, facile à lire, qui parait intéressante au début, mais plutard on s'aperçoit que l'enchainement des péripéties est trop rapide, il y manque la description des sentiments, du décor, des relations du personnage principal avec les autres... Les aventures tournent autour d'un même thème, mais c'est utile pour mettre en évidence les difficultés de l'époque. Après, tout dépend du gout du lecteur. Personnellement, je n'ai même pas envie de finir à lire le quart du livre qui me reste.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x93ab1fd8) étoiles sur 5 109 commentaires
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HASH(0x93ac115c) étoiles sur 5 Moll Flanders 23 août 2001
Par mp - Publié sur Amazon.com
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Daniel Defoe's 1722 novel, "Moll Flanders," remains a fascinating imaginative work, and is in many ways more interesting than his famous first effort, "Robinson Crusoe." Having seen bits of two recent film adaptations in the last couple of months on television, and being a budding 18th century scholar, I decided it was time I picked up my own copy of "Moll Flanders" and see the actual product on its own terms. A story no less about a castaway and delinquent than "Crusoe," in "Moll Flanders," Defoe attempts to set down the history of a woman with a wild and often desperate life. A character of infinitely more interiority and reflection than Crusoe, Moll gives us through a first person narrative, a look into various stations of life in 18th century England and America.
The novel begins with a tip of the hat to that fine progenitor of the novel, "Don Quixote," a Gines-like acknowledgment that Moll, as the author of her own story, cannot complete that story within the text of the novel, unless people can write when they are deceased. Amusements aside, Moll begins her story as Crusoe begins his, with an immediate acknowledgment of the instability of the modern self - the corruption of her own name. Born in Newgate prison, and having never known her mother, Moll finds herself among gypsies and landed gentry before settling in Colchester for the term of her youth. Here, she founds her sense of social ambition, unusual even for Jane Eyre in the 19th century, as one in which she figures to be a gentlewoman by earning her own living. Various mishaps and misadventures lead her through marriages, whoredom, and thievery as Moll attempts to find her place in the world as a woman of common birth. Early on she learns the lessons that will aid her on her journey, viz., the value of money, quick wit, and a sense of her own sexuality.
While Defoe certainly does not sugar-coat the wrongs of woman in the early 18th century - delving deeply into issues of feminine helplessness before the law, the difficulties of procuring stable employment, and various reproductive issues such as adoption, abortion, and infant mortality - yet he maintains a consistent character of Moll as an extremely strong, adaptive, and resilient female character. The most riveting facet of Moll throughout is her own sense of self-worth and importance, especially in her own history. For instance, while chronicling an encounter with a former lover, Moll tells us that while his adventures are worth their own narrative, this is "my story, not his." Moll's strength in the midst of doubt, desperation, and general loneliness keeps the reader's constant interest and admiration.
Defoe's exploration of inter-gender relationships are worthy of note themselves for the sheer variety of social, economic, and personal situations he includes in the novel. The economic theme stands out among these, and provides a link back to the preoccupations of "Robinson Crusoe." Like Crusoe, Moll is always aware of the value of her personal possessions, and conscious of how to exploit and husband her resources to best advantage. Also like Crusoe, "Moll Flanders" is keenly aware of the possibilities and drawbacks of English colonial ventures in America. Defoe's efforts to link all these themes to the lot of the English prison population, the family unit, and indentured servants and African slaves, are all managed extremely well within the text of the novel. For all this, "Moll Flanders" remains an entertaining, satisfying, relevant novel, and stands for me above "Crusoe" as a work of high literary value.
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HASH(0x93ac11b0) étoiles sur 5 Excellent if you can get past the writing style. 14 novembre 2000
Par James Yanni - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
'Tho the plot, being interesting in the extream, must be confess'd to be well-done, and alike the characters, being well-develop'd, plausible, and even sympathetic ('tho they be theives, felons, bigamists, and worse), must be similarly confess'd, still the writing style, being as it is extreamly archaic as well in spelling, grammar, and syntax, as in punctuation, the modern reader must be foarwarn'd: if he had difficulty with the parsing of this, the principle paragraph of this review, or finds the prospect of reading a story consisting of eight and forty more than two hundreds of pages in a like style daunting, he should give the project up as impracticable.
If, on the other hand, you had no trouble with that paragraph, I daresay that you'll enjoy this book, even if, as the father of the English novel, Defoe had yet to engender the chapter break.
Also it should be pointed out this may well be the first novel in which a male author attempts to write a story in which the lead character is female, and Defoe does a surprisingly good job of it.
25 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x93ac15e8) étoiles sur 5 The first great female character in English prose 25 juillet 2004
Par krebsman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
I think MOLL FLANDERS is my favorite novel of all time. The novel form was in its infancy at the time MOLL FLANDERS was written. In fact, Defoe is often called "the father of the English novel." Actually, as a novel it's very primitive. Defoe's fiction is usually a first person narrative told by an ambitious person, recounting how he got where he is today. In Moll Flanders, Defoe presents the autobiography of a woman who rises from an ignominious birth in Newgate Prison, and a childhood as a servant. Early on, Moll learns that she is beautiful and that she is attractive to the opposite sex. What's great about the book is its delicious irony. Oh there are times when she gets caught in her own traps, she's a sly one, that Moll. It's very difficult at times to think of Moll as a fictional character. But she is, in fact, the first great female character in English prose. I never cease to be amazed that the book was written by a man. There are moments in the book that I find very moving, like when she realizes that she's no longer pretty enough to attract men without resorting to makeup. "I never had to paint my face before." And of course there's that unsettling surprise she receives toward the end of the novel. This is a great and important book and hardly anyone has read it. I don't know why. I have recommended this book to probably a hundred people. To the best of my knowledge, not a single one of them has taken my advice. It's their loss. I LOVE Moll Flanders.
16 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x93ac19b4) étoiles sur 5 Good, but not great literature 18 mars 2008
Par John Martin - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
To fully understand and appreciate Moll Flanders you should have some understanding of the status of fiction at the time Daniel DeFoe was writing and some knowledge about the man himself. As Nancy Springer has indicated, the novel is an example of a "picaresque adventure," a style of writing that was popular at the time. These stories glorified a new kind of hero--the ordinary person, who engaged in a series of often wild and improbable events in exotic places. The picaresque rouge was a rebel against the remains of the feudal system with its hierarchy of human worth. Such novels featured a clever, strong-minded, low-born character who knew how to survive. What DeFoe did differently is to make his character a women and have her adventures take place largely in England.

The novel is also largely autobiographical. DeFoe himself experienced many financial ups and downs, yet he persevered. In fact it wasn't until he was 60 years old that he began writing novels and achieved some measure of fame and financial success. He spent time in Newgate prison and deeply in debt. He was also an outspoken political reformer who wrote more than 250 political pamphlets.

Having said the above, the novel still has its faults. One is that it is written in a continuous manner with no chapter breaks. While DeFoe may have been trying to say that time is continuous and that distinctions (such as hours, days, weeks, etc.) are mere fabrications, still readers like to have books broken down into chapters. A more serious flaw is the lack of names. Apart from her first husband there are virtually no names given to the characters. Even Moll herself is not identified by the title name until well into the book and even this name is not her actual name (which we never learn). Instead characters are identified in some impersonal way (my Lancashire husband, my governess, etc.) The lack of names makes it hard for the reader to engender any sympathy for Moll and the other personages in the book. Also the action is so fast paced that it flashes by like looking through a kaleidoscope, the scenes and action constantly shifting and changing. For example, within the first 100 pages Moll is married five times, has several children, goes to Virginia, finds her mother, etc. There is no time for the reader to reflect on the tragedies that befall her, especially given that they are told in a matter-of-fact manner.

The book can be divided into two parts. The first half deals with Moll's amorous life--her marriages and love affairs. The second part focuses primarily on her criminal activities. Both sections tell the story entirely from Moll's perspective. In many respects Moll is a match for Thackery's Becky Sharp. Both are low-born, both get positions in well-to-do families, both marry one of the sons in the family, both are attractive and quick witted, both scheme to get money and both have various adventures and misadventures. But Vanity Fair is written as a social commentary and Thackery uses the omnipotent story teller to advantage, even having him speak directly to the reader. DeFoe, by comparison, limits himself to having his protagonist say, in effect, now I did this, then I did that, then this happened, etc.

To give DeFoe his due, the book does provide a realistic and detailed account of life in England at that time. His description of Newgate prison is but one example. Perhaps Moll's attitude also reflected the times accurately. It can best be described as "a woman is nothing without a man and to get a man a woman must have money." Thus Moll spends the entire book pursuing both. But one can question how realistic Moll Flanders really is. She has a number of children, but seems to have little regard for them. Perhaps DeFoe, needing to rid Moll of encumbrances such as children in order to engage her in so many adventures, gave her what is an unnatural attitude for a mother. In the end he does reunite her with a son, but we should note that her motivation, at least at first, is financial not familial.

All in all, the book is worth reading, but it is far from great literature.
16 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x93ac1a98) étoiles sur 5 Moll Flanders a strong resourceful woman 3 janvier 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
An eighteenth century novel recounting the life and survival of a strong willed Moll Flanders, a woman who, abandoned as an infant, finds her way to self sufficiency, in a world then dominated by men. Through ingenius schemes she still some how always regains the illusion of imaginary high standing and good reputation throughout it all.
I found Moll Flanders to be resourceful and ingenious in her methods for securing her own survival. The book puts prostitution and premarital sex in a whole new perspective. As one can deduce from this book, life was not so simple for women in the 18th century, especially if they were abandon as children, or even if they husband died and left them without means to exist. Moll takes her position as a dependent woman and finds power in her mind to devise schemes which will allow her a secure lifestyle without compromising her self.
I found Moll to be a woman of character and repute, with self esteem, who made her own way in a world where women had no power, money or choices aside from their dependence upon men.
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