Memoirs of a Cavalier A Military Journal of the Wars in Germany, and the Wars in England. From the Year 1632 to the Year 1648.

Memoirs of a Cavalier A Military Journal of the Wars in Germany, and the Wars in England. From the Year 1632 to the Year 1648.

by Daniel Defoe

Epub (Kobo), Epub (Adobe) Publication Date: 28/08/2019

  $1.99

Memoirs of a Cavalier A Military Journal of the Wars in Germany, and the Wars in England. From the Year 1632 to the Year 1648.

Daniel Defoe is, perhaps, best known to us as the author of Robinson Crusoe, a book which has been the delight of generations of boys and girls ever since the beginning of the eighteenth century. For it was then that Defoe lived and wrote, being one of the new school of prose writers which grew up at that time and which gave England new forms of literature almost unknown to an earlier age. Defoe was a vigorous pamphleteer, writing first on the Whig side and later for the Tories in the reigns of William III and Anne. He did much to foster the growth of the newspaper, a form of literature which henceforth became popular. He also did much towards the development of the modern novel, though he did not write novels in our sense of the word. His books were more simple than is the modern novel. What he really wrote were long stories told, as is Robinson Crusoe, in the first person and with so much detail that it is hard to believe that they are works of imagination and not true stories. "The little art he is truly master of, is of forging a story and imposing it upon the world as truth." So wrote one of his contemporaries. Charles Lamb, in criticizing Defoe, notices this minuteness of detail and remarks that he is, therefore, an author suited only for "servants" (meaning that this method can appeal only to comparatively uneducated minds). Really as every boy and girl knows, a good story ought to have this quality of seeming true, and the fact that Defoe can so deceive us makes his work the more excellent reading.

The Memoirs of a Cavalier resembles Robinson Crusoe in so far as it is a tale told by a man of his own experiences and adventures. It has just the same air of truth and for a long time after its first publication in 1720 people were divided in opinion as to whether it was a book of real memoirs or not. A critical examination has shown that it is Defoe's own work and not, as he declares, the contents of a manuscript which he found "by great accident, among other valuable papers" belonging to one of King William's secretaries of state. Although his gifts of imagination enabled him to throw himself into the position of the Cavalier he lapses occasionally into his own characteristic prose and the style is often that of the eighteenth rather than the seventeenth century, more eloquent than quaint. Again, he is not careful to hide inconsistencies between his preface and the text. Thus, he says in his preface that he discovered the manuscript in 1651; yet we find in the Memoirs a reference to the Restoration, which shows that it must have been written after 1660 at least. There is abundant proof that the book is really a work of fiction and that the Cavalier is an imaginary character; but, in one sense, it is a true history, inasmuch as the author has studied the events and spirit of the time in which his scene is laid and, though he makes many mistakes of detail, he gives us a very true picture of one of the most interesting periods in English and European history. The Memoirs thus represent the English historical novel in its beginnings, a much simpler thing than it was to become in the hands of Scott and later writers.

ISBN:
9780599543348
9780599543348
Category:
Warfare & defence
Format:
Epub (Kobo), Epub (Adobe)
Publication Date:
28-08-2019
Language:
English
Publisher:
Lighthouse Books for Translation and Publishing
Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe was a Londoner, born in 1660 at St Giles, Cripplegate, and son of James Foe, a tallow-chandler. He changed his name to Defoe from c. 1695. He was educated for the Presbyterian Ministry at Morton's Academy for Dissenters at Newington Green, but in 1682 he abandoned this plan and became a hosiery merchant in Cornhill. After serving briefly as a soldier in the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion, he became well established as a merchant and travelled widely in England, as well as on the Continent.

Between 1697 and 1701 he served as a secret agent for William III in England and Scotland, and between 1703 and 1714 for Harley and other ministers. During the latter period he also, single-handed, produced the Review, a pro-government newspaper. A prolific and versatile writer he produced some 500 books on a wide variety of topics, including politics, geography, crime, religion, economics, marriage, psychology and superstition. He delighted in role-playing and disguise, a skill he used to great effect as a secret agent, and in his writing he often adopted a pseudonym or another personality for rhetorical impact.

His first extant political tract (against James II) was published in 1688, and in 1701 appeared his satirical poem The True-Born Englishman, which was a bestseller. Two years later he was arrested for The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters, an ironical satire on High Church extremism, committed to Newgate and pilloried. He turned to fiction relatively late in life and in 1719 published his great imaginative work, Robinson Crusoe. This was followed in 1722 by Moll Flanders and A Journal of the Plague Year, and in 1724 by his last novel, Roxana.

His other works include A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain, a guide-book in three volumes (1724–6; abridged Penguin edition, 1965), The Complete English Tradesman (1726), Augusta Triumphans, (1728), A Plan of the English Commerce (1728) and The Complete English Gentleman (not published until 1890). He died on 24 April 1731. Defoe had a great influence on the development of the English novel and many consider him to be the first true novelist.

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