by Daniel Defoe
Moll Flanders Authorship Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Paragraph)
In her last scene, at Maryland and Virginia, many pleasant things happened, which makes that part of her life very agreeable, but they are not told with the same elegancy as those accounted for by herself; so it is still to the more advantage that we break off here. (Preface 22)
This is another trick the author uses to make readers feel like he's just the transcriber/editor and Moll Flanders is the real author. He criticizes part of the story (which he really wrote) and says that he's done some editing to show off the best parts in other places. This gives the impression that the story the reader is about to read is, in fact, true, because it had to be edited.
Thus far I have had a smooth story to tell of myself, and in all this part of my life I not only had the reputation of living in a very good family, and a family noted and respected everywhere for virtue and sobriety, and for every valuable thing; but I had the character too of a very sober, modest, and virtuous young woman, and such I had always been; neither had I yet any occasion to think of anything else, or to know what a temptation to wickedness meant. (59)
Moll writes, "I had a character," which is a fun little pun because she is, in fact, a character. Of course here she's referring to her moral character – the fiber that makes up her personality. It hints at the fact that she is playing the part of a virtuous young woman. And that part is being written for her by none other than Daniel Defoe.
He spoke this in so much more moving terms than it is possible for me to express, and with so much greater force of argument than I can repeat, that I only recommend it to those who read the story, to suppose, that as he held me above an hour and a half in that discourse, so he answered all my objections, and fortified his discourse with all the arguments that human wit and art could devise. (214)
Moll takes the easy way out as an author, here, when she says she can't even repeat the man's argument because it was so moving. Instead of trying to do so, she leaves it up to her readers to imagine the highlights and the finer points. Look for other moments in the novel where Moll shies away from telling the whole story. Do these moments have anything in common?