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"Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) was born in London in 1660. The son of a tallow-chandler, his childhood years saw great change in London, witnessing both the Plague and the Great Fire of 1666. Defoe was educated first at Dorking from 1671 and then at Morton's Academy for Dissenters in Newington Green; attending the latter with a view to becoming a Presbyterian Minister.
"In 1684 Defoe married Mary Tuffley, receiving a dowry of ú3,700 but this proved an insufficient figure to keep him from bankruptcy and he was later jailed for debt. Defoe's life was extremely varied, fighting briefly in the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion of 1685 he was also a strong supporter of William of Orange in the 'Glorious' Revolution three years later.
"One of Defoe's most notorious and ironic pamphlets, The Shortest Way with Dissenters (1702) led to him being fined, put in the pillory and then jailed at Newgate Prison. Intervention by a Tory minister, Robert Harley, secured Defoe's release and for the next eleven years he served as a secret agent and political journalist for Harley and other ministers.
"A prolific and versatile writer, Defoe wrote over 500 books, pamplets and journals on a wide range of topics including politics, crime, religion, geography, marriage, psychology and the supernatural. Turning to fiction relatively late in life, Defoe's first novel, Robinson Crusoe, was not published until 1719. His other main works, Moll Flanders, A Journal of the Plague Year and Roxana followed shortly after.
"Daniel Defoe died in 1731."
Source: Penguin Web Site (http://www.futurenet.co.uk/Penguin/Authors/164.html). Accessed 6 December 1996.
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The author portrait is reproduced from . (Source: Geoffrey M. Sill. Defoe and the Idea of Fiction 1713-1719. Newark: U of Delawar P, 1983. Page iv. PR 3408 P6 S5 1983 ROBA.)
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