Daniel Defoe and the Apparition of Mrs Veal Essay

Daniel Defoe and the Apparition of Mrs Veal Essay

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"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, The True-Born Englishman. Part I. Line1). Daniel Defoe was a man of many beliefs, from political to spiritual he was complex in his values. He was roughly a merchant, soldier, factory owner, bankrupt, spy, pamphleteer, convict, journalist, editor, politically disruptive writer, and novelist. However to this day, his life and works are an interesting and remarkable topic for the curious to delve into.

Defoe's upbringing can be described as none other than humble. He was born to a butcher named James Foe in Stoke Newington, London, England. His family was that of Dissenters. Dissenters could be described as Protestants that did not adhere to the doctrine of the Church of England. Because of his family's refusal to pledge an oath of allegiance to the Church, he could not attend Oxford. However, Defoe still managed to receive a good education at Newington Green. He enjoyed the life of a merchant for many years, however after going bankrupt in 1692 the realm of politics seemed to intrigue him. His political interests were not always to his benefit because of his direct way of expressing himself. He wrote many significant political journals,however it was his 1702 pamphlet, "The Shortest Way with the Dissenters," that truly brought his audience into an uproar. He was pilloried and jailed because of this pamphlet, and during his stay in jail he wrote many other political pieces. Even after his release he continued to write politically for his newspaper, "The Review," from 1704 until1713. During his lifetime he had been associated with 26 periodicals. During this time...


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...mselves about human affairs, either such as had been their own, or what were belonging to other people" (Starr 437). In this chapter he talks humorously about the fact that if there were such things the world would be uninhabitable and that there would be more apparitions than people. To Starr it is not clear who wrote, "A Relation if the Apparition of Mrs. Veal," but he is sure that it was not Defoe.

Whether Daniel Defoe wrote about Mrs. Veal to sell Drelincourt's book, to entertain his audience, or even if he didn't write it at all, Defoe is still a literary icon. In the Cambridge History of English and American Literature it is said that Defoe was capable of writing almost anything, and that few pens have ever filled with greater facility a larger number of sheets. Even with all of his faults, he was probably the most liberal and versatile writer of his age.

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