Nation and Novel: The English Novel from Its Origins to the Present Day

By Patrick Parrinder | Go to book overview

3
Cross-Grained Crusoe: Defoe and the
Contradictions of Englishness

FEW writers have been as insistent about their nationality as Daniel Defoe. He was a prolific journalist and author of histories, travel books, handbooks, and advice books, whose titles include A Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain (1724–6), The Complete English Tradesman (1726), and A Plan of the English Commerce (1728). Not only is he the principal claimant for the title of father of the English novel, but his non-fictional writings amount to a kind of ramshackle encyclopedia, a comprehensive compendium of facts and opinions about the English nation. His greatest contribution to world literature was his creation of Robinson Crusoe, a fictional character who has long been regarded as an archetypal Englishman. Yet Defoe and his fictional creations have a more complex relationship to national identity than appears at first sight.

The historian Linda Colley argues that the construction of the sense of British national identity began with the union of England and Scotland in 1707, more than a century after the two countries were first brought together under the Stuart monarchy.1 The early eighteenth century was a time when nationalities were forcefully asserted and new national symbols invented. However, it is Englishness, not Britishness, that is stressed in Defoe's works and in the literary characterizations of his contemporaries such as Addison's Sir Roger de Coverly (the prototypical country squire) and Arbuthnot's John Bull. Sir Roger and his friends are old-timers who reflect the Whig belief in the healing of national differences and the mellowing of the English nation two generations after the Civil War. John Bull is a symbol of outwardly turned national aggression, an expression of England's growing readiness to challenge France, Holland, and Spain for dominance on the world stage.

In Joseph Addison's Spectator essays of 1711–12, the Tory country squire is shown on his visits to London attending the Club frequented by Mr Spectator, Will Honeycomb, and the City merchant Sir Andrew

-63-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Nation and Novel: The English Novel from Its Origins to the Present Day
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 502

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.