Date of Award

Spring 2004

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Rivero, Albert

Second Advisor

Grahn, Lance

Third Advisor

Curran, John


The longer fictional works of Daniel Defoe were written when the novel had not yet coalesced into what we consider its proper form. His works stand as an important manifestation of the evolution of narrative practices that led to the modem novel. It is, therefore, valuable to develop a better understanding of the narrative methods employed by Defoe. He makes extensive use of material from pre-existing non-literary forms, and understanding the relation of Defoe's works to their textual predecessors is fundamental to understanding his narrative method. In several works-A General History of the Pyrates, Captain Singleton, A New Voyage Round the World, and Robinson Crusoe--he makes use of the structure, content, and motifs of travel literature, and of raiding narratives in particular, of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. His interrelation of the conventions of these narratives reveals much about his own works. His use of conventional content endows his works with greater verisimilitude, which helps him to convey his values to his readers, as does his interrelation of thematic conventions. While still adhering to the formal expectations of the factual works, he can create fictions that have all the strengths of factual histories, but he is not bound by facts and can create narratives that better demonstrate the values he wishes to present to readers. How Defoe adheres to and departs from the conventions of his sources reveals much about his genius...



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