A Citizen Who lives the Whole Time in London
A Converted Thief
A Familiar Spirit
A Member of the Honourable House of Commons
A Ministering Friend of the People Called Quakers
An English Gentleman
An Englishman at the Court of Hanover
Andrew Moreton, Merchant
Anglipolski of Lithuania
Anthony Tom Richard
Arine Donna Quixota
Autho’ Hubble Bubble
Count Kidney Face
Dan D. F-e
Daniel De Foe
Fello De Se
Hen. Antifogger, Jr.
Henry Caution, Jr.
Henry Fancy, Jr.
Obadiah Blue Hat
One, Two, Three, Four
Same Friend Who Wrote to Thomas Bradbury, etc.
Sir Fopling Tittle-Tattle
Sir Malcontent Chagrin
Sir Timothy Caution
The Author of the 'Trueborn Englishman'
The Father of Modern Prose Fiction
The New Convert
The Sunny Gentleman
Tom A. Bedlam
Daniel Foe (1660–1731) was an English trader, writer, journalist, pamphleteer and spy, now most famous for his novel 'Robinson Crusoe'. It is believed that the original name on the novel was Foe, although it may indeed have been Defoe. The ‘De’ derives from the fact that he was known as Mr. D. Foe to distinguish him from his father, James Foe. If so, this was a happy acquisition, ‘De’ implies an aristocratic ancestry; on occasion Foe claimed descent from the family of De Beau Faux.
Defoe, notable for being one of the earliest proponents of the novel, as he helped to popularise the form in Britain, he was a prolific and versatile writer, he wrote books, pamphlets and journals on various topics (including politics, crime, religion, marriage, psychology and the supernatural). He was also a pioneer of economic journalism.
Defoe entered the world of business as a general merchant, dealing at different times in hosiery, general woollen goods and wine. Though his ambitions were great and he was able to buy both a country estate and a ship (as well as civet cats to make perfume), he was rarely out of debt. He participated in several failing businesses, facing bankruptcy and aggressive creditors.
King William III was crowned in 1688, and Defoe immediately became one of his close allies and a secret agent. Some of the new king's policies, however, led to conflict with France, thus damaging prosperous trade relationships for Defoe.
In 1702 the death of William III created a political upheaval as the king was replaced by Queen Anne, who immediately began her offensive against Nonconformists. Defoe being a natural target, his pamphleteering and political activities resulted in his arrest and placement in a pillory, principally on account of his pamphlet entitled ‘The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters; Or, Proposals for the Establishment of the Church, purporting to argue for their extermination’. Though it was published anonymously, the true authorship was quickly discovered and Defoe was arrested and charged with seditious libel.
According to legend, the publication of his poem ‘Hymn to the Pillory’ caused his audience at the pillory to throw flowers instead of the customary harmful and noxious objects and to drink to his health.
No fewer than 545 titles, ranging from satirical poems, political and religious pamphlets and volumes have been ascribed to Defoe under at least 198 pen names.
‘Daniel Defoe’, Wikipedia, retrieved 14 September 2013
Room, A. (1981), ‘Name Stories’, Naming Names, p.91
Room, A. (1981), ‘Defoe’s Pseudonyms’, Naming Names, pp.335–337
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