Preface and Parts 1-2

Preface - Moll Becomes a “Gentlewoman”
In his brief introduction, Defoe pretends that he is presenting the reader not with a work of fiction, but with a somewhat sanitized version of Moll Flanders’ memoirs of her life of crime. While acknowledging that many aspects of Moll’s history are lewd and vulgar, Defoe contends that he could not purge the manuscript of these defects without damaging the authenticity of her story. He accordingly apologizes for placing so many sordid and immoral incidents before the public. However, he emphasizes that, while he did his best to clean up the offensive language Moll herself employed when she wrote down her recollections, he was driven to leave in many...

(The entire section is 1990 words.)