Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe audiobook

Moll Flanders

By Daniel Defoe
Read by Wanda McCaddon

Blackstone Publishing
11.63 Hours Unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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    ISBN: 9781455171873

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Possibly the first novel in the English language, Moll Flanders is the fictional autobiography of a delightfully scandalous young female rogue. Born in Newgate Prison in seventeenth-century England, Moll is predestined to poverty and lawlessness, yet relentlessly driven to overcome her fate. Donning whatever mask suits her best in the moment, she appraises theft, prostitution, and bigamy only in terms of their profit potential, her indomitable will undaunted by her bad luck. Eventually, however, a moral sense begins to intrude. Defoe creates a narrative that brilliantly commentates on morality and self-reliance within the period in which it is set.

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Summary

Summary

Possibly the first novel in the English language, Moll Flanders is the fictional autobiography of a delightfully scandalous young female rogue. Born in Newgate Prison in seventeenth-century England, Moll is predestined to poverty and lawlessness, yet relentlessly driven to overcome her fate. Donning whatever mask suits her best in the moment, she appraises theft, prostitution, and bigamy only in terms of their profit potential, her indomitable will undaunted by her bad luck. Eventually, however, a moral sense begins to intrude.

Defoe creates a narrative that brilliantly commentates on morality and self-reliance within the period in which it is set.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

"[One of the] few English novels which we can call indisputably great.” Virginia Woolf
“A masterpiece of characterization.” E. M. Forster
“Defoe’s excellence 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
“Defoe’s characters…[seem] as real as if we saw them in a mirror that was so clear it was invisible.” Kenneth Rexroth 

Reviews

Reviews

by Bertie Wooster 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

Why 18th Century Novels Make the Best Audiobooks

There’s something so refreshingly direct about 18th Century novels. Plot is king, and it drives forward relentlessly. I remember once when cooped up in bed with a bad back reading Smollett’s Roderick Random in a day. At the beginning of one chapter the hero was, if I remember rightly, a galley slave and at the end of the chapter (which couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4 pages) he was on dry land and in command of a company of soldiers. And even if my memory isn’t completely accurate, that’s my impression of the book—and it gives you some idea of how swiftly your typical 18th Century novel moves. None of your early-20th Century broodings over a cookie or odysseys that take up a mere 24 hours of book-time but maunder on for 800-odd pages. The 18th Century liked it’s reading a little less complicated and a lot more interesting.

Moll Flanders is no exception. She moves from husband to husband, from England to Virginia, from Virginia to England, from situation to situation and from larcenous activity to larcenous activity with dexterousness that takes the breath away. The action is straightforward and matter-of-fact in the same way medieval chivalric romances are straightforward and matter of fact. What is happening may be extraordinary—Percival might he glimpsing the Holy Grail or Moll committing bigamy—but the author carries us forward regardless, telling us a great story that rivets and entertains and instructs.

Yes, instructs. Because, despite the raunchy reputation of this particular volume (one e-book edition features a saucy looking wench with a come-hither look who seems to be in a hay loft) Moll Flanders is a book with a moral, a moral insisted upon by its fictional author.

So far from celebrating her crimes, Moll deprecates them, repents of them and, like the young man who used to frequent the House of the Rising Sun, warns us all not to do what she has done. All the while, she predicts that the vast majority of her readers will zero in on the randy parts and give her heartfelt warnings short shrift—a prediction that has, of course, come true. Nevertheless, Moll Flanders is more than a collection of gingery anecdotes. I think of it more as a meditation on human frailty. Yes, as many maintain, the book depicts the plight of women in a time when marriage was the only way to rise in the world. But even Moll herself questions that ambition, an ambition that lead her into bigamy, theft, perjury and eventually Newgate and the shadow of the gallows.

In spite of the profligate stereotype, Moll is possessed of a profound self-knowledge. When reprieved from hanging she wonders if her repentance isn’t just skin-deep, to result of relief rather than religious conviction. Also, for those who say the book is about “a woman doing what a woman had to do back then”, I present the things Moll refuses to do, such as terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The means are available and offered freely, but there are lines she won’t cross. While showing us "what a woman had to do back then", Moll Flanders is at least as much about a woman not doing everything she “had to do”.

To this galloping story Wanda McCaddon adds her usual superb performance: bright, clear and full of character.

Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Classics
Runtime: 11.63
Audience: Adult
Language: English