Defoe's Politics

Parliament, Power, Kingship and 'Robinson Crusoe'

Defoe's Politics

This study of Defoe's politics aims to challenge the critical demand to see Defoe as a "modern" and to counter misrepresentations of his political writings by restoring their seventeenth-century context. Offering a full examination of Defoe's years as a political reporter and journalist (1689-1715), it recovers his traditional, conservative and anti-Lockean ideas on contemporary issues: the origins of society, the role of the people in the establishment of a political society and how monarchies are created and maintained as the means of achieving a beneficent political order. At the heart of Defoe's political imagination, Manuel Schonhorn finds the vision of a warrior-king, derived from sources in the Bible, and in ancient and English history. The model illuminates his original reading of Robinson Crusoe, which emerges less in terms of a family romance, a tract for the rising bourgeoisie or a Lockean parable of government, than as a dramatic re-enactment of Defoe's life-long political preoccupations concerning society, government and kingship.

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