Moll Flanders Questions and Answers
by Daniel Defoe

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What apology does Daniel Defoe make about the content of the book Moll Flanders?

In the Author's preface to Moll Flanders, Defoe expresses the hope that the contents of the book will not offend "the chastest reader" or "the modest hearer." This is because he's aware that the racy subject matter of the book may offend quite a few people. Defoe further claims that he's written the work in a language fit to be read and that its many unpleasant incidents have been put there for the purposes of moral instruction.

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To understand the reason for Defoe's anxiety not to offend, we need to look at the historical and cultural context in which the work was written. At the time the book was first published, in 1722, it was widely considered indecent to write about the seamier side of life, about disreputable characters such as thieves, prostitutes, and murderers.

Yet that is precisely what Defoe is writing about in Moll Flanders . As he knows this...

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