Narrative Contraries as Signs in Defoe's Fiction

Robert James Merrett
1989 Eighteenth-Century Fiction  
The one eighteenth-century novelist literary history has always associated with realism is Daniel Defoe. Since Sir Walter Scott's time, the episodic nature of Defoe's stories, his colloquial language, and his secular interest in mundane detail have been viewed as a major contribution to narrative realism. Recent studies, variously qualifying this orthodoxy, have yielded a wider sense of his contribution; having stressed the ideological integrity of his fiction, they have also shown that, by the
more » ... standards of aesthetic formalism, it possesses conscious artistry, and have traced its authenticity to mythic, political, and personal strategies. In this essay, in response to current interest in narrative theory, I will further question the appropriateness of taking realism as an explanation of Defoe's narrative achievement.
doi:10.1353/ecf.1989.0036 fatcat:utrwlzm63zhuvcg32tqrsmmcqu