Through the struggles of growing up, Daniel Defoe had many influences that changed the style of writing which ultimately made him an important figure in many people’s lives. His creative and indecisive style of writing changed the style of writing and some people’s ways of thinking. Defoe thought in a way that made him look in the future and not just what is happening at present. He had his fair share of up and downs. Jail was his home for many years. It gave him a view on life that not every person sees, nor probably should. The many works of literature he produced prove his dedication to his writings. And that’s showed by how much he wrote, and not just any writings, but extravagant and meaningful ones. People did not give him a chance to prove who he was. Daniel Defoe knew he was a good writer and these setbacks did not stop him from producing some of the most amazing works of literature. Daniel Defoe’s tough childhood gave him many influences for his writings, he took those influences and changed the style of writing in his time, and when he put everything together he became that important person we know him as today.
Daniel Defoe was born in 1660 to an English trader. Though his real name was Daniel Foe, he decided to add the “De” to the front of it. He thought it made him manlier and professional. He was not even five years old when he survived the Bubonic Plague that killed thousands and thousands of people throughout England. Not even three years later, he survived the “Great Fire” that burned down every house but his and just a few other homes standing. Defoe’s childhood was rough and to make it even more despairing, his mother, Anna, died when he was not even to the age of 10. As Defoe said:
“As covetousness is the root of all evil, so poverty is the worst of all snares.” (“Daniel Defoe” Biography.com)
He points out that evil poses something while poverty can put people in traps.
Many of his writings we know of today are similar to his real life encounters with terrifying obstacles. Not much is known about Defoe in his teen years, but many people think he started his writing career early then.
He is credited with creating a new form of writing. It’s simply what we call today a “Novel”. Many people did not appreciate how spectacular this form of writing really was. Daniel Defoe’s most Famous book was Robinson Crusoe. It talked about surviving an island for twenty-eight years before the person was rescued. Similar to Defoe’s life in a way. He was lost and did not know where to go.
“Necessity makes an honest man a knave.” (Daniel Defoe, Bloom)
He declared bankruptcy because he lost his ship insurance caused by the War with France. Daniel was out of his job of fishing and still had to make money. In the next ten years he pays off all but three thousand seven hundred pounds. He never got out of debt. Defoe was also a bad guy. Arrested multiple times by Harley’s enemies for publishing ironical tracks in supports of Hanoverian succession.
In 1703, he was arrested for publishing The Shortest Way With the Dissenters. He was tried and sentenced to stand pillory for three days. All this time in jail, Daniel Defoe still had been writing. Its said that he would have to have written almost every day of his life for him to have produced as much as he did. After producing five hundred works of literature and living seventy years, its clear that he did love to write.
His many Novels and works of literature were of past experiences. Many modern scholars have been influenced and call him a historian, but people of his time, did not yet but yet his historical writings deserved more attention. He also wrote on many various topics. Defoe’s interests and activities reflect the major social, political, economic, and literary trends of his age.
In 1731, he would die of “lethargy” in Ropemakers Ally. He was buried in Bunhill Fields along with John Bunyan and other puritans to hide from creditors. His soul may be gone but his legacy will never be forgotten. People still today read his novels and write the way he did. He changed the way everyone wrote and will write for a long time. Defoe is and always will be an important person to many people.
Many people consider Defoe one of the greatest journalists and father of the Novel. He influenced many writers including some important people such as Jonathon Swift, Johaan Wyss, George Orwell, and Virgina Woolf. Those three names are just many upon many people that Defoe influenced even till today and will for years to come.
His works of literature were not to popular back in his time. For nearly seventy-five years, Defoe’s reputation as a writer was in decline. But from 1780 to 1830, a succession of biographies and editions of his works was published, and his literary star began to rise. But it was not till 1860 the number of books and essays about him increased dramatically, and he was on the way to being acknowledged as one of the best writers.
Defoe is known as the father of British novels because, before him, literature consisted of plays and poems. Not many people believed that Novels were a good type of writing. Yet, Defoe was again speaking his mind and writing what he wanted and if people didn’t like it, then it was their fault.
In some ways Defoe was also a help to some people by teaching them and giving them life lessons. Such as, in Robinson Crusoe, he tells of lessons and morals that should be taught in the real world. He is the first to also write about real characters in realistic situations. People did not give him a chance to prove why he was such a great writer. He knew what he was talking about. The people of his time were just too arrogant to actually give a man the chance.
Defoe spent much of his life as a rebel as he was constantly in some kind of trouble, whether it was bankruptcy, jail time, or both. Many people saw Defoe as a target, yet some see him as an actually nice person. But Defoe was not the person to shy away from any spotlight. His involvement with the news and current events had a huge impact on much of his writing on politics. Daniel was very political. Especially since he was defending King William III. In 1701 Defoe published The True-Born Englishman, the most sold poem in England up to that time. He estimated that more than eighty thousand copies of this defense of William III against the attacks of John Tutchin.
When he reached the age of sixty he reached a full career as a businessman, government servant, political pamphleteer, and journalist, within six years produced the half-dozen novels that gave him some of his greatest prominence. He wrote some of the most profound works that are still known today, but was one of the founders of the English novel. Many in his day enjoyed his satirical and political views. People can say and write what they want about how good or bad someone is. But they can’t lie about something that is true. And it’s clear that Daniel Defoe was a very important person that wrote with a sense of courage and swagger.
Defoe changed the style of writing unlike anyone. He is known to have been the father of the Novel. He wrote almost everyday and wrote well, even in those times. Defoe studied as a famous academy, Mr. Charles Morton’s of Stoke Newington. Where many well known writers were studying there at the same time. Such as Samuel Wesley, son of the great religious leader, John Wesley. He didn’t always write just whenever but when he did it was commonly in jail on failure to pay debt of seventeen thousand pounds. This gave him a view on many different sides of people’s opinions because he’s been on both sides. His troubles made him write both feelingly and forcibly on bankruptcy laws, some creditors accepted the composition, he honorably paid them in full. Defoe was always backing up what he stood for and sometimes that was a good thing and sometimes it led to bad things. Daniel wrote about King William III and boasted about intimacy with the king and was appointed accountant to the commissioners of the glass duty, which he held for four years. This made him close with the king and too close at times.
He supported the policies of William III and Mary after the Glorious Revolution of 1668-69. As Defoe said it at one time: “Justice is always violent to the party offending, for every man is innocent in his own eyes.” (“Daniel Defoe” Biography.com)
He talks about how everyone thinks fighting is okay because in your own eyes you may be fighting for a different reason. This quote describes how Defoe wrote. He my have written things that people did not like but he wrote about what he knew best what he believed in. Daniel Defoe said it perfectly one time:
“It is better to have a lion at the head of an army of sheep, than a sheep at the head of an army of lions.” (“Daniel Defoe- Essential Information and Facts.” Enotes.com)
He is simply is stating that it is better to have a strong start or leader to lead something weak then to have a weak leader lead a strong army.
Defoe wrote with lively and lucid style of writing with vigor, and abounds with ingenious thoughts and illusions that most would never think of. He wrote with very many different topics from politics, to government and Kings, also many questionable things of his time, and conflicts with religion and business.
Robinson Crusoe was his most famous piece of writing and also his first real novel written in English. Was an immediately best seller and still is one of the best-known books of today’s time. Defoe created this “novel” in a way that makes the story feel real. He wrote with very detailed information that made the story seem realistic in a way that the writer is talking to the reader. People felt like they could start to relate the novel to their own lives. Most writers then wrote in an intricate style that was very different from the way people talked. But Defoe didn’t just have these great thoughts pop up in his head.
Some of Defoe’s writings may have been influenced from his interesting childhood; the “great fire” and death of his mother at ten years old, he survived the bubonic plaque that attacked England killing thousands of people around him. Defoe wrote his works with truth and never shied away from saying what he thought was write which got him in trouble with many people in his life, but that’s what made him such a great writer. He was daring and no afraid to here peoples reviews on what he wrote. The characters that Defoe created in his fiction books have been brought to life countless times over the years, in editorial works, as well as stage and movies. His simple, easy and eminently factual style made his writings accessible to large audiences.
One of Defoe’s best descriptive novels was Moll Flowers, describing Defoe’s early teens to late adulthood. Daniel Defoe, much like his novel, grew up in an environment where you had to play by the rules. If these rules were to be broken, you where either killed or placed in jail. Defoe enjoyed letting his readers experience his life through all his writings and novels.
Through his tough childhood, Daniel Defoe had many influences that changed his style of writing, and by doing that he became an important person. Defoe was not the nicest person, but he knew what he was talking about and he spoke his mind. He knew many sides of almost every story. Not only did he think out of the box, but also he thought clearly and creatively. He is considered one of the greatest writers of all-time, and for a good reason. After five hundred plus works of literature, and creating a completely new style of writing, Daniel Defoe has the privilege of being known as one of the best there ever will be.