|Died||24 April 1731 (aged 70)|
|Resting place||Bunhill Fields|
|Occupation||Writer, journalist, merchant|
Daniel Defoe (//; born Daniel Foe; c. 1660 – 24 April 1731) was an English writer, trader, journalist, pamphleteer and spy. He is most famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe, published in 1719, which is claimed to be second only to the Bible in its number of translations. He has been seen as one of the earliest proponents of the English novel, and helped to popularise the form in Britain with others such as Aphra Behn and Samuel Richardson. Defoe wrote many political tracts and was often in trouble with the authorities, and spent a period in prison. Intellectuals and political leaders paid attention to his fresh ideas and sometimes consulted him.
Defoe was a prolific and versatile writer, producing more than three hundred works—books, pamphlets, and journals — on diverse topics, including politics, crime, religion, marriage, psychology, and the supernatural. He was also a pioneer of business journalism and economic journalism.
Daniel Foe (his original name) was probably born in Fore Street in the parish of St Giles Cripplegate, London. Defoe later added the aristocratic-sounding "De" to his name, and on occasion made the bogus claim of descent from the family of De Beau Faux. "De" is also a common prefix in Flemish surnames. His birthdate and birthplace are uncertain, and sources offer dates from 1659 to 1662, with the summer or early autumn of 1660 considered the most likely. His father, James Foe, was a prosperous tallow chandler of Flemish descent,[a] and a member of the Worshipful Company of Butchers. In Defoe's early childhood, he experienced some of the most unusual occurrences in English history: in 1665, 70,000 were killed by the Great Plague of London, and the next year, the Great Fire of London left only Defoe's and two other houses standing in his neighbourhood. In 1667, when he was probably about seven, a Dutch fleet sailed up the Medway via the River Thames and attacked the town of Chatham in the raid on the Medway. His mother, Alice, had died by the time he was about ten.
Defoe was educated at the Rev. James Fisher's boarding school in Pixham Lane in Dorking, Surrey. His parents were Presbyterian dissenters, and around the age of 14, he was sent to Charles Morton's dissenting academy at Newington Green, then a village just north of London, where he is believed to have attended the Dissenting church there. He lived on Church Street, Stoke Newington, at what is now nos. 95–103. During this period, the English government persecuted those who chose to worship outside the Church of England.
Defoe entered the world of business as a general merchant, dealing at different times in hosiery, general woollen goods, and wine. His ambitions were great and he was able to buy a country estate and a ship (as well as civets to make perfume), though he was rarely out of debt. On 1 January 1684, Defoe married Mary Tuffley at St Botolph's Aldgate. She was the daughter of a London merchant, receiving a dowry of £3,700—a huge amount by the standards of the day. With his debts and political difficulties, the marriage may have been troubled, but it lasted 47 years and produced eight children.
In 1685, Defoe joined the ill-fated Monmouth Rebellion but gained a pardon, by which he escaped the Bloody Assizes of Judge George Jeffreys. Queen Mary and her husband William III were jointly crowned in 1689, and Defoe became one of William's close allies and a secret agent. Some of the new policies led to conflict with France, thus damaging prosperous trade relationships for Defoe. In 1692, he was arrested for debts of £700 and, in the face of total debts that may have amounted to £17,000, was forced to declare bankruptcy. He died with little wealth and evidently embroiled in lawsuits with the royal treasury.
Following his release from debtors’ prison, he probably travelled in Europe and Scotland, and it may have been at this time that he traded wine to Cadiz, Porto and Lisbon. By 1695, he was back in England, now formally using the name "Defoe" and serving as a "commissioner of the glass duty", responsible for collecting taxes on bottles. In 1696, he ran a tile and brick factory in what is now Tilbury in Essex and lived in the parish of Chadwell St Mary.
As many as 545 titles have been ascribed to Defoe, ranging from satirical poems, political and religious pamphlets, and volumes.
Pamphleteering and prison
Defoe's first notable publication was An Essay Upon Projects, a series of proposals for social and economic improvement, published in 1697. From 1697 to 1698, he defended the right of King William III to a standing army during disarmament, after the Treaty of Ryswick (1697) had ended the Nine Years' War (1688–1697). His most successful poem, The True-Born Englishman (1701), defended William against xenophobic attacks from his political enemies in England, and English anti-immigration sentiments more generally. In 1701, Defoe presented the Legion's Memorial to Robert Harley, then Speaker of the House of Commons—and his subsequent employer—while flanked by a guard of sixteen gentlemen of quality. It demanded the release of the Kentish petitioners, who had asked Parliament to support the king in an imminent war against France.
The death of William III in 1702 once again created a political upheaval, as the king was replaced by Queen Anne who immediately began her offensive against Nonconformists. Defoe was a natural target, and his pamphleteering and political activities resulted in his arrest and placement in a pillory on 31 July 1703, principally on account of his December 1702 pamphlet entitled The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters; Or, Proposals for the Establishment of the Church, purporting to argue for their extermination. In it, he ruthlessly satirised both the high church Tories and those Dissenters who hypocritically practised so-called "occasional conformity", such as his Stoke Newington neighbour Sir Thomas Abney. It was published anonymously, but the true authorship was quickly discovered and Defoe was arrested. He was charged with seditious libel and found guilty in a trial at the Old Bailey in front of the notoriously sadistic judge Salathiel Lovell. Lovell sentenced him to a punitive fine of 200 marks (£336 then, £83,000 now[when?]), to public humiliation in a pillory, and to an indeterminate length of imprisonment which would only end upon the discharge of the punitive fine. According to legend, the publication of his poem Hymn to the Pillory caused his audience at the pillory to throw flowers instead of the customary harmful and noxious objects and to drink to his health. The truth of this story is questioned by most scholars, although John Robert Moore later said that "no man in England but Defoe ever stood in the pillory and later rose to eminence among his fellow men".
"Wherever God erects a house of prayer
the Devil always builds a chapel there;
And 't will be found, upon examination,
the latter has the largest congregation."
– Defoe's The True-Born Englishman, 1701
After his three days in the pillory, Defoe went into Newgate Prison. Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, brokered his release in exchange for Defoe's cooperation as an intelligence agent for the Tories. In exchange for such cooperation with the rival political side, Harley paid some of Defoe's outstanding debts, improving his financial situation considerably.
Within a week of his release from prison, Defoe witnessed the Great Storm of 1703, which raged through the night of 26/27 November. It caused severe damage to London and Bristol, uprooted millions of trees, and killed more than 8,000 people, mostly at sea. The event became the subject of Defoe's The Storm (1704), which includes a collection of witness accounts of the tempest. Many regard it as one of the world's first examples of modern journalism.
In the same year, he set up his periodical A Review of the Affairs of France, which supported the Harley Ministry, chronicling the events of the War of the Spanish Succession (1702–1714). The Review ran three times a week without interruption until 1713. Defoe was amazed that a man as gifted as Harley left vital state papers lying in the open, and warned that he was almost inviting an unscrupulous clerk to commit treason; his warnings were fully justified by the William Gregg affair.
When Harley was ousted from the ministry in 1708, Defoe continued writing the Review to support Godolphin, then again to support Harley and the Tories in the Tory ministry of 1710–1714. The Tories fell from power with the death of Queen Anne, but Defoe continued doing intelligence work for the Whig government, writing "Tory" pamphlets that undermined the Tory point of view.
Not all of Defoe's pamphlet writing was political. One pamphlet was originally published anonymously, entitled A True Relation of the Apparition of One Mrs. Veal the Next Day after her Death to One Mrs. Bargrave at Canterbury the 8th of September, 1705. It deals with the interaction between the spiritual realm and the physical realm and was most likely written in support of Charles Drelincourt's The Christian Defence against the Fears of Death (1651). It describes Mrs. Bargrave's encounter with her old friend Mrs. Veal after she had died. It is clear from this piece and other writings that the political portion of Defoe's life was by no means his only focus.
Anglo-Scottish Union of 1707
This section needs additional citations for verification. (July 2017)
In despair during his imprisonment for the seditious libel case, Defoe wrote to William Paterson, the London Scot and founder of the Bank of England and part instigator of the Darien scheme, who was in the confidence of Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, leading minister and spymaster in the English government. Harley accepted Defoe's services and released him in 1703. He immediately published The Review, which appeared weekly, then three times a week, written mostly by himself. This was the main mouthpiece of the English Government promoting the Act of Union 1707.
Defoe began his campaign in The Review and other pamphlets aimed at English opinion, claiming that it would end the threat from the north, gaining for the Treasury an "inexhaustible treasury of men", a valuable new market increasing the power of England. By September 1706, Harley ordered Defoe to Edinburgh as a secret agent to do everything possible to help secure acquiescence in the Treaty of Union. He was conscious of the risk to himself. Thanks to books such as The Letters of Daniel Defoe (edited by G. H. Healey, Oxford 1955), far more is known about his activities than is usual with such agents.
His first reports included vivid descriptions of violent demonstrations against the Union. "A Scots rabble is the worst of its kind", he reported. Years later John Clerk of Penicuik, a leading Unionist, wrote in his memoirs that it was not known at the time that Defoe had been sent by Godolphin :
Defoe was a Presbyterian who had suffered in England for his convictions, and as such he was accepted as an adviser to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and committees of the Parliament of Scotland. He told Harley that he was "privy to all their folly" but "Perfectly unsuspected as with corresponding with anybody in England". He was then able to influence the proposals that were put to Parliament and reported,
Having had the honour to be always sent for the committee to whom these amendments were referrèd,
I have had the good fortune to break their measures in two particulars via the bounty on Corn and
proportion of the Excise.
For Scotland, he used different arguments, even the opposite of those which he used in England, usually ignoring the English doctrine of the Sovereignty of Parliament, for example, telling the Scots that they could have complete confidence in the guarantees in the Treaty. Some of his pamphlets were purported to be written by Scots, misleading even reputable historians into quoting them as evidence of Scottish opinion of the time. The same is true of a massive history of the Union which Defoe published in 1709 and which some historians still treat as a valuable contemporary source for their own works. Defoe took pains to give his history an air of objectivity by giving some space to arguments against the Union but always having the last word for himself.
He disposed of the main Union opponent, Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, by ignoring him. Nor does he account for the deviousness of the Duke of Hamilton, the official leader of the various factions opposed to the Union, who seemingly betrayed his former colleagues when he switched to the Unionist/Government side in the decisive final stages of the debate.
In 1709, Defoe authored a rather lengthy book entitled The History of the Union of Great Britain, an Edinburgh publication printed by the Heirs of Anderson. The book cites Defoe twice as being its author and gives details leading up to the Acts of Union 1707 by means of presenting information that dates all the way back to December 6 of 1604 when King James I was presented with a proposal for unification. And so, such so-called "first draft" for unification took place just a little over 100 years before the signing of the 1707 accord, which respectively preceded the commencement of Robinson Crusoe by another ten years.
Defoe made no attempt to explain why the same Parliament of Scotland which was so vehement for its independence from 1703 to 1705 became so supine in 1706. He received very little reward from his paymasters and of course no recognition for his services by the government. He made use of his Scottish experience to write his Tour thro' the whole Island of Great Britain, published in 1726, where he admitted that the increase of trade and population in Scotland which he had predicted as a consequence of the Union was "not the case, but rather the contrary".
Defoe's description of Glasgow (Glaschu) as a "Dear Green Place" has often been misquoted as a Gaelic translation for the town's name. The Gaelic Glas could mean grey or green, while chu means dog or hollow. Glaschu probably means "Green Hollow". The "Dear Green Place", like much of Scotland, was a hotbed of unrest against the Union. The local Tron minister urged his congregation "to up and anent for the City of God".
The "Dear Green Place" and "City of God" required government troops to put down the rioters tearing up copies of the Treaty at almost every mercat cross in Scotland. When Defoe visited in the mid-1720s, he claimed that the hostility towards his party was "because they were English and because of the Union, which they were almost universally exclaimed against".
The extent and particulars are widely contested concerning Defoe's writing in the period from the Tory fall in 1714 to the publication of Robinson Crusoe in 1719. Defoe comments on the tendency to attribute tracts of uncertain authorship to him in his apologia Appeal to Honour and Justice (1715), a defence of his part in Harley's Tory ministry (1710–1714). Other works that anticipate his novelistic career include The Family Instructor (1715), a conduct manual on religious duty; Minutes of the Negotiations of Monsr. Mesnager (1717), in which he impersonates Nicolas Mesnager, the French plenipotentiary who negotiated the Treaty of Utrecht (1713); and A Continuation of the Letters Writ by a Turkish Spy (1718), a satire of European politics and religion, ostensibly written by a Muslim in Paris.
From 1719 to 1724, Defoe published the novels for which he is famous (see below). In the final decade of his life, he also wrote conduct manuals, including Religious Courtship (1722), The Complete English Tradesman (1726) and The New Family Instructor (1727). He published a number of books decrying the breakdown of the social order, such as The Great Law of Subordination Considered (1724) and Everybody's Business is Nobody's Business (1725) and works on the supernatural, like The Political History of the Devil (1726), A System of Magick (1727) and An Essay on the History and Reality of Apparitions (1727). His works on foreign travel and trade include A General History of Discoveries and Improvements (1727) and Atlas Maritimus and Commercialis (1728). Perhaps his greatest achievement, apart from the novels, is the magisterial A tour thro' the whole island of Great Britain (1724–1727), which provided a panoramic survey of British trade on the eve of the Industrial Revolution.
The Complete English Tradesman
Published in 1726, The Complete English Tradesman is an example of Defoe's political works. In the work, Defoe discussed the role of the tradesman in England in comparison to tradesmen internationally, arguing that the British system of trade is far superior. Defoe also implied that trade was the backbone of the British economy: "estate's a pond, but trade's a spring." In the work, Defoe praised the practicality of trade not only within the economy but the social stratification as well. Defoe argued that most of the British gentry was at one time or another inextricably linked with the institution of trade, either through personal experience, marriage or genealogy. Oftentimes younger members of noble families entered into trade, and marriages to a tradesman's daughter by a nobleman was also common. Overall, Defoe demonstrated a high respect for tradesmen, being one himself.
Not only did Defoe elevate individual British tradesmen to the level of gentleman, but he praised the entirety of British trade as a superior system to other systems of trade. Trade, Defoe argues, is a much better catalyst for social and economic change than war. Defoe also argued that through the expansion of the British Empire and British mercantile influence, Britain would be able to "increase commerce at home" through job creations and increased consumption. He wrote in the work that increased consumption, by laws of supply and demand, increases production and in turn raises wages for the poor therefore lifting part of British society further out of poverty.
Published in his late fifties, Robinson Crusoe relates the story of a man's shipwreck on a desert island for twenty-eight years and his subsequent adventures. Throughout its episodic narrative, Crusoe's struggles with faith are apparent as he bargains with God in times of life-threatening crises, but time and again he turns his back after his deliverances. He is finally content with his lot in life, separated from society, following a more genuine conversion experience.
In the opening pages of The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, the author describes how Crusoe settled in Bedfordshire, married and produced a family, and that when his wife died, he went off on these further adventures. Bedford is also the place where the brother of "H. F." in A Journal of the Plague Year retired to avoid the danger of the plague, so that by implication, if these works were not fiction, Defoe's family met Crusoe in Bedford, from whence the information in these books was gathered. Defoe went to school Newington Green with a friend named Caruso.
The novel has been assumed to be based in part on the story of the Scottish castaway Alexander Selkirk, who spent four years stranded in the Juan Fernández Islands, but his experience is inconsistent with the details of the narrative. The island Selkirk lived on, Más a Tierra (Closer to Land) was renamed Robinson Crusoe Island in 1966. It has been supposed that Defoe may have also been inspired by a translation of a book by the Andalusian-Arab Muslim polymath Ibn Tufail, who was known as "Abubacer" in Europe. The Latin edition was entitled Philosophus Autodidactus; Simon Ockley published an English translation in 1708, entitled The improvement of human reason, exhibited in the life of Hai ebn Yokdhan.
Defoe's next novel was Captain Singleton (1720), an adventure story whose first half covers a traversal of Africa which anticipated subsequent discoveries by David Livingstone and whose second half taps into the contemporary fascination with piracy. The novel has been commended for its sensitive depiction of the close relationship between the hero and his religious mentor, Quaker William Walters. Its description of the geography of Africa and some of its fauna does not use the language or knowledge of a fiction writer and suggests an eyewitness experience.
Memoirs of a Cavalier
A Journal of the Plague Year
A Journal of the Plague Year can be read both as novel and as non-fiction. It is an account of the Great Plague of London in 1665, which is undersigned by the initials "H. F.", suggesting the author's uncle Henry Foe as its primary source. It is a historical account of the events based on extensive research and written as if seen through an eyewitness experience, published in 1722.
Colonel Jack (1722) follows an orphaned boy from a life of poverty and crime to prosperity in the colonies, military and marital imbroglios, and religious conversion, driven by a problematic notion of becoming a "gentleman."
Also in 1722, Defoe wrote Moll Flanders, another first-person picaresque novel of the fall and eventual redemption, both material and spiritual, of a lone woman in 17th-century England. The titular heroine appears as a whore, bigamist, and thief, lives in The Mint, commits adultery and incest, and yet manages to retain the reader's sympathy. Her savvy manipulation of both men and wealth earns her a life of trials but ultimately an ending in reward. Although Moll struggles with the morality of some of her actions and decisions, religion seems to be far from her concerns throughout most of her story. However, like Robinson Crusoe, she finally repents. Moll Flanders is an important work in the development of the novel, as it challenged the common perception of femininity and gender roles in 18th-century British society. More recently it has come to be misunderstood as an example of erotica.
Defoe's final novel, Roxana: The Fortunate Mistress (1724), which narrates the moral and spiritual decline of a high society courtesan, differs from other Defoe works because the main character does not exhibit a conversion experience, even though she claims to be a penitent later in her life, at the time that she is relaying her story.
In Defoe's writings, especially in his fiction, there are a number of traits that can be seen across his works. Defoe was well known for his didacticism, with most of his works aiming to convey a message of some kind to the readers (typically a moral one, stemming from his religious background). Connected to Defoe's use of didacticism is his use of the genre of spiritual autobiography, particularly in Robinson Crusoe. Another common feature of Defoe's fictional works is that he claimed them to be the true stories of their subjects.
Attribution and de-attribution
Defoe is known to have used at least 198 pen names. It was a very common practice in eighteenth-century novel publishing to initially publish works under a pen name, with most other authors at the time publishing their works anonymously. As a result of the anonymous ways in which most of his works were published, it has been a challenge for scholars over the years to properly credit Defoe for all of the works that he wrote in his lifetime. If only counting works that Defoe published under his own name, or his known pen name "the author of the True-Born Englishman," there would be about 75 works that could be attributed to him. Beyond these 75 works, scholars have used a variety of strategies to determine what other works should be attributed to Defoe. George Chalmers was the first to begin the work of attributing anonymously published works to Defoe. In History of the Union, he created an expanded list with over a hundred titles that he attributed to Defoe, alongside twenty additional works that he designated as "Books which are supposed to be De Foe's." Chalmers included works in his canon of Defoe that were particularly in line with his style and way of thinking, and ultimately attributed 174 works to Defoe. P N. Furbank and W. R. Owens built upon this canon, also relying on what they believed could be Defoe's work, without a means to be absolutely certain. In the Cambridge History of English Literature, the section on Defoe by William P. Trent attributes 370 works to Defoe. J.R. Moore generated the largest list of Defoe's work, with approximately five hundred and fifty works that he attributed to Defoe.
Defoe died on 24 April 1731, probably while in hiding from his creditors. He was often in debtors' prison. The cause of his death was labelled as lethargy, but he probably experienced a stroke. He was interred in Bunhill Fields (today Bunhill Fields Burial and Gardens), just outside the medieval boundaries of the City of London, in what is now the Borough of Islington, where a monument was erected to his memory in 1870.
- The Consolidator, or Memoirs of Sundry Transactions from the World in the Moon: Translated from the Lunar Language (1705)
- Robinson Crusoe (1719) – originally published in two volumes:
- The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who Lived Eight and Twenty Years [...]
- The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe: Being the Second and Last Part of His Life [...]
- Serious Reflections During the Life and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe: With his Vision of the Angelick World (1720)
- Captain Singleton (1720)
- Memoirs of a Cavalier (1720)
- A Journal of the Plague Year (1722)
- Colonel Jack (1722)
- Moll Flanders (1722)
- Roxana: The Fortunate Mistress (1724)
- An Essay Upon Projects (1697) – subsections of the text include: "The History of Projects," "Of Projectors," "Of Banks," "Of the Highways," "Of Assurances," "Of Friendly Societies," "The Proposal is for a Pension Office," "Of Wagering," "Of Fools," "A Charity-Lottery," "Of Bankrupts," "Of Academies" (including a section proposing an academy for women), "Of a Court Merchant," and "Of Seamen."
- The Storm (1704) – describes the worst storm ever to hit Britain in recorded times. Includes eyewitness accounts.
- Atlantis Major (1711)
- The Family Instructor (1715)
- Memoirs of the Church of Scotland (1717)
- The History of the Remarkable Life of John Sheppard (1724) – describing Sheppard's life of crime and concluding with the miraculous escapes from prison for which he had become a public sensation.
- A Narrative of All The Robberies, Escapes, &c. of John Sheppard (1724) – written by or taken from Sheppard himself in the condemned cell before he was hanged for theft, apparently by way of conclusion to the Defoe work. According to the Introduction to Volume 16 of the works of Defoe published by J M Dent in 1895, Sheppard handed the manuscript to the publisher Applebee from the prisoners' cart as he was taken away to be hanged. It included a correction of a factual detail and an explanation of how his escapes from prison were achieved.
- A tour thro' the whole island of Great Britain, divided into circuits or journies (1724–1727)
- A New Voyage Round the World (1724)
- The Political History of the Devil (1726)
- The Complete English Tradesman (1726)
- A treatise concerning the use and abuse of the marriage bed... (1727)
- A Plan of the English Commerce (1728) – describes how the English woolen textile industrial base was developed by protectionist policies by Tudor monarchs, especially by Henry VII of England and Elizabeth I, including such policies as high tariffs on the importation of finished woolen goods, high taxes on raw wool leaving England, bringing in artisans skilled in wool textile manufacturing from the Low Countries, selective government-granted monopoly rights, and government-sponsored industrial espionage.
Pamphlets or essays in prose
- The Poor Man's Plea (1698)
- The History of the Kentish Petition (1701)
- The Shortest Way with the Dissenters (1702)
- The Great Law of Subordination Consider'd (1704)
- Giving Alms No Charity, and Employing the Poor (1704)
- The Apparition of Mrs. Veal (1706)
- An Appeal to Honour and Justice, Tho' it be of his Worst Enemies, by Daniel Defoe, Being a True Account of His Conduct in Publick Affairs (1715)
- A Vindication of the Press: Or, An Essay on the Usefulness of Writing, on Criticism, and the Qualification of Authors (1718)
- Every-body's Business, Is No-body's Business (1725)
- The Protestant Monastery (1726)
- Parochial Tyranny (1727)
- Augusta Triumphans (1728)
- Second Thoughts are Best (1729)
- An Essay Upon Literature (1726)
- Mere Nature Delineated (1726)
- Conjugal Lewdness (1727) – Anti-Contraception Essay
Pamphlets or essays in verse
- The True-Born Englishman: A Satyr (1701)
- Hymn to the Pillory (1703)
- An Essay on the Late Storm (1704)
Some contested works attributed to Defoe
- A Friendly Epistle by way of reproof from one of the people called Quakers, to T. B., a dealer in many words (1715).
- The King of Pirates (1719) – purporting to be an account of the pirate Henry Avery.
- The Pirate Gow (1725) – an account of John Gow.
- A General History of the Pyrates (1724, 1725, 1726, 1828) – published in two volumes by Charles Rivington, who had a shop near St. Paul's Cathedral, London. Published under the name of Captain Charles Johnson, it sold in many editions.
- Captain Carleton's Memoirs of an English Officer (1728).
- The life and adventures of Mrs. Christian Davies, commonly call'd Mother Ross (1740) – published anonymously; printed and sold by R. Montagu in London; and attributed to Defoe but more recently not accepted.
- The surname Defoe is of Flemish origin, probably derived from Faux or one of its variants, such as Defauw. Defoe lauded Elizabeth for encouraging the Flemings. It is thought that he was aware of his origins and it is possible that he understood some Flemish/Dutch, since his library had Dutch titles.
- According to Paul Duguid in "Limits of self organization" Archived 15 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, First Monday (11 September 2006): "Most reliable sources hold that the date of Defoe's birth was uncertain and may have fallen in 1659 or 1661. The day of his death is also uncertain."
- Backscheider, Paula R. (January 2008) . "Daniel Defoe (1660?–1731)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/7421. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.) (Subscription required.)
- "Defoe", The Oxford Companion to English Literature, ed. Margaret Drabble. (Oxford: Oxford University Press,1996), p. 265.
- Backscheider (2008/2004). "Even the most conservative lists of Defoe's works include 318 titles, and most Defoe scholars would credit him with at least 50 more."
- Margarett A. James, and Dorothy F. Tucker. "Daniel Defoe, Journalist." Business History Review 2.1 (1928): 2–6.
- Adams, Gavin John (2012). Letters to John Law. Newton Page. pp. liii–lv. ISBN 978-1-934619-08-7. Archived from the original on 2 January 2014.
- Hibbert, Christopher; Ben Weinreb; John Keay; Julia Keay. (2010). The London Encyclopaedia. London: Pan Macmillan. p. 304. ISBN 978-0-230-73878-2.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Stephanson, Raymond (2013). Raymond Stephanson, Darren N. Wagner (ed.). The Secrets of Generation Reproduction in the Long Eighteenth Century. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 105. ISBN 9781442666931.
- Torselli, Stefano. "Daniel Defoe". www.baroque.it. Archived from the original on 17 October 2021. Retrieved 17 October 2021.
- Bastian, F. (1981). Defoe's Early Years. London: Macmillan Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0333274323. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- Schaff, Barbara (2020). Handbook of British Travel Writing. Berlin: De Gruyter. ISBN 9783110497052.
- Mutter, Reginald P.C. "Daniel Defoe – English author". Britannica. Archived from the original on 17 October 2021. Retrieved 17 October 2021.
- Wright, Thomas (1894). The Life of Daniel Defoe Volume 1. Cassell. p. 2.
- Stevelinck, Ernest; De Roover, Raymond (1970). De comptabiliteit door de eeuwen heen tentoonstelling in de Koninklijke Bibliotheek Albert I. Brussels: Royal Library of Belgium. p. 150.
- van Ginneken, Jaap (2007). Screening Difference How Hollywood's Blockbuster Films Imagine Race, Ethnicity, and Culture. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 75. ISBN 9781461643296.
- Richard West (1998) Daniel Defoe: The Life and Strange, Surprising Adventures. New York: Carroll & Graf. ISBN 978-0-7867-0557-3.
- Joseph Laurence Black, ed. (2006). The Broadview Anthology of Literature: The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century. Toronto: Broadview Press. ISBN 978-1-55111-611-2.
- John J. Richetti (2005) The Life of Daniel Defoe. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 978-0-631-19529-0, doi:10.1002/9780470754665.
- Bastian F (158). "Daniel Defoe and the Dorking District". Surrey Archaeological Collections. Surrey Archaeological Society. 55: 41–64.
- Biography of Daniel Defoe (1659?–1731). Retrieved 1 August 2013.
- "Defoe in Stoke Newington". Arthur Secord, P.M.L.A. Vol. 66, p. 211, 1951. Cited in Thorncroft, p. 9, who identifies him as "an American scholar".
- Council, London County (6 October 2020). "Daniel Defoe – Blue Plaques". English Heritage. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
- Novak, Maximillian (2001). Daniel Defoe : master of fictions : his life and ideas. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199261543. OCLC 51963527.
- Backscheider, Paula (1989). Daniel Defoe : his life. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0801845123. OCLC 59911734.
- Daniel Defoe (1702). "The shortest way with the Dissenters". Retrieved 18 September 2010.
- The Storm: or, a collection of the most remarkable casualties and disasters which happen'd in the late dreadful tempest, both by sea and land. London: 1704.
- John J. Miller (13 August 2011) "Writing Up a Storm", The Wall Street Journal.
- Downie, J. A. "Robert Harley and the Press" (PDF). University of Newcastle eTheses. University of Newcastle. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 January 2019. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
- Clerk, John (1892). Gray, John Miller (ed.). Memoirs of the life of Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, baronet, baron of the Exchequer, extracted by himself from his own journals, 1676–1755. Edinburgh: Scottish Historical Society. pp. 63–64. In a side-note at this point Clerk recommends Defoe's History of the Union of Great Britain : "This History of the Union deserves to be read. It was published in folio. There is not one fact in it which I can challenge"
- The History Of The Union Of Great Britain, 1709; Edinburgh, Heirs of Anderson at TrueScans.
- First Defoe book author reference – cited as DANIEL DEFOE at truescans.com.
- Second Defoe book author reference – cited as D. DE FOE at truescans.com.
- Book reference to 6th December of 1604 at truescans.com.
- [Defoe, Daniel. The complete English tradesman. London: Tegg, 1841. Print.]
- Minto, William (1879). Daniel Defoe. New York: Harper & Bros. OCLC 562533988.
- Nawal Muhammad Hassan (1980), Hayy bin Yaqzan and Robinson Crusoe: A study of an early Arabic impact on English literature, Al-Rashid House for Publication.
- Cyril Glassé (2001), The New Encyclopedia of Islam, Rowman Altamira, p. 202, ISBN 0-7591-0190-6.
- Amber Haque (2004). "Psychology from Islamic Perspective: Contributions of Early Muslim Scholars and Challenges to Contemporary Muslim Psychologists". Journal of Religion and Health. 43 (4): 357–377 . doi:10.1007/s10943-004-4302-z. JSTOR 27512819. S2CID 38740431.
- Martin Wainwright (22 March 2003) Desert island scripts, The Guardian.
- Everett Zimmerman, "HF's Meditations: A Journal of the Plague Year." Publications of the Modern Language Association of America (1972) 87#3: 417–423 online.
- Robert Mayer, "The Reception of A Journal of the Plague Year and the Nexus of Fiction and History in the Novel." ELH 57.3 (1990): 529–555 online.
- Nicholas Seager, "Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: Epistemology and Fiction in Defoe's 'A Journal of the Plague Year'." Modern Language Review (2008) 103#3: 639–653 online.
- "Moll: The Life and Times of Moll Flanders". History Extra. Archived from the original on 28 April 2019. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
- Ann Louise Kibbie, "Monstrous generation: the birth of capital in Defoe's Moll Flanders and Roxana." PMLA (1995) 110#5: 1023–1034 online.
- "DEFOE AS PURITAN NOVELIST – ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global – ProQuest". search.proquest.com. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
- Starr, G. A. (George A.) (1971) . Defoe & spiritual autobiography. New York: Gordian Press. ISBN 0-87752-138-7. OCLC 219753.
- "The appendices offer even more: a listing of Voltaire's and Daniel Defoe's numerous pseudonyms (178 and 198, respectively) …" in A Dictionary of Pseudonyms and Their Origins, with Stories of Name Changes, 3rd ed., Mcfarland & Co Inc Pub., 1998, ISBN 0-7864-0423-X.
- Vareschi, M. (1 April 2012). "Attribution and Repetition: The Case of Defoe and the Circulating Library". Eighteenth-Century Life. 36 (2): 36–59. doi:10.1215/00982601-1548027. ISSN 0098-2601. S2CID 145603239.
- Novak, Maximillian E. (1996). Furbank, P. N.; Owens, W. R. (eds.). "The Defoe Canon: Attribution and De-Attribution". Huntington Library Quarterly. 59 (1): 83–104. doi:10.2307/3817908. ISSN 0018-7895. JSTOR 3817908.
- Pat Rogers, "Defoe in the Fleet Prison." Review of English Studies22.88 (1971): 451–455.
- Kennedy, Maev (22 February 2011). "Burial ground of Bunyan, Defoe and Blake earns protected status". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
- "Defoe, Daniel". The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Online edition (3rd ed., 2011). Biographical entry by editors John Clute and Peter Nicholls. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
- Baine, Rodney M. (1972). "Daniel Defoe and Captain Carleton's Memoirs of an English Officer". Texas Studies in Literature and Language. 13 (4): 613–627. ISSN 0040-4691. JSTOR 40755201.
- "The life and adventures of Mrs. Christian Davies, commonly call'd Mother Ross". Catalog entry: in several campaigns under King William and the late Duke of Marlborough, in the quality of a foot-soldier and dragoon, gave many signal proofs of an unparallell'd courage and personal bravery. Taken from her own mouth when a pensioner of Chelsea-Hospital, and known to be true by many who were engaged in those great scenes of action. Sir John Soane's Museum Collection Online. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- Backscheider, Paula R. Daniel Defoe: His Life (1989).
- Backscheider, Paula R. Daniel Defoe: Ambition and Innovation (UP of Kentucky, 2015).
- Baines, Paul. Daniel Defoe-Robinson Crusoe/Moll Flanders (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).
- Di Renzo, Anthony. "The complete English tradesman: Daniel Defoe and the emergence of business writing." Journal of technical writing and communication 28.4 (1998): 325–334.
- Furbank, Philip Nicholas, and William Robert Owens. A political biography of Daniel Defoe (Routledge, 2015). online
- Gollapudi, Aparna. "Personhood, Property Rights, and the Child in John Locke's Two Treatises of Government and Daniel Defoe's Fiction." Eighteenth-Century Fiction 28.1 (2015): 25–58.
- Gregg, Stephen H. Defoe's Writings and Manliness: Contrary Men (Routledge, 2016).
- Guilhamet, Leon. Defoe and the Whig Novel: A Reading of the Major Fiction (U of Delaware Press, 2010).
- Hammond, John R. ed. A Defoe companion (Macmillan, 1993).
- Marshall, Ashley. "Fabricating Defoes: From Anonymous Hack to Master of Fictions." Eighteenth-Century Life 36.2 (2012): 1–35. Historiography
- Novak, Maximillian E. Daniel Defoe: Master of Fictions: His Life and Ideas (2001) excerpt
- O'Brien, John. "The Character of Credit: Defoe's" Lady Credit," The Fortunate Mistress, and the Resources of Inconsistency in Early Eighteenth-Century Britain." ELH 63.3 (1996): 603–631. online
- Novak, Maximillian E. Realism, myth, and history in Defoe's fiction (U of Nebraska Press, 1983).
- Richetti, John. The Life of Daniel Defoe: A Critical Biography (2015).
- Rogers, Pat (1971). "Defoe in the Fleet Prison". The Review of English Studies. 22 (88): 451–455. doi:10.1093/res/XXII.88.451. JSTOR 513276.
- Sutherland, J.R. Defoe (Taylor & Francis, 1950), older scholarly biography. online
- Defoe, Daniel. The best of Defoe's Review: an anthology (Columbia UP, 1951).
- W. R. Owens, and Philip Nicholas Furbank, eds. Political and economic writings of Daniel Defoe (Pickering & Chatto, 2000).
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- Full online versions of various copies of Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and the Robinsonades
- Full texts in German and English – eLibrary Projekt (eLib)
- The Journeys of Daniel Defoe around Britain (from a Vision of Britain)
- Russian toponyms in Daniel Defoe's novels
- Defoe, Daniel 1661?–1731 WorldCat Identity
- A System of Magick
- The Thief-Taker Hangings: How Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Wild, and Jack Sheppard Captivated London and Created the Celebrity Criminal by Aaron Skirboll