Cambridge Studies in Eighteenth-Century English Literature and Thought: Series Number 9: Defoe's Politics: Parliament, Power, Kingship and 'Robinson Crusoe'

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This study of Defoe's politics aims to challenge the critical demand to see Defoe as a 'modern' and to counter misrepresentations of his political writings by restoring them to their seventeenth-century context. Offering a full examination of Defoe's years as a political reporter and journalist (1689-1715), it recovers his traditional, conservative and anti-Lockean ideas on contemporary issues: the origins of society, the role of the people in the establishment of a political society and how monarchies are created and maintained as the means of achieving a beneficent political order. At the heart of Defoe's political imagination, Manuel Schonhorn finds the vision of a warrior-king, derived from sources in the Bible and in ancient and English history. This model illuminates his original reading of Defoe's greatest political fiction, Robinson Crusoe, which emerges less in terms of a family romance, a tract for the rising bourgeoisie or a Lockean parable of government, than as a dramatic re-enactment of Defoe's lifelong political preoccupations concerning society, government and kingship.