By William Minto
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2011
Online Publication Date:November 2011
Original Publication Year:1879
Subjects: English literature 1700-1830 , English literature: general interest
Published in the first series of English Men of Letters in 1879, a time when a complete edition of Daniel Defoe's works was yet to be collated, this biograhical account by William Minto (1845–93) was a significant achievement in literary scholarship as well as an engaging portrait of a colourful and outspoken polemicist. Himself a journalist and essayist for the pioneering Pall Mall Gazette and the Daily News, Minto combines the critical insight of a literary scholar with the empathy and understanding of a fellow writer. Spanning the novelist's entire life (c. 1659–1731), from the passions of his youth to the publication of Robinson Crusoe, his 'later journalistic labours' and the impact of literary success, this biography tells how Defoe disproved the rule that the lives of men of letters are rarely eventful.