Chapter

Last Productive Years

Maximillian E. Novak

in Daniel Defoe: Master of Fictions

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780199261543
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191698743 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199261543.003.0057
Last Productive Years

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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Free from the obligations of his journalism, Daniel Defoe might have been able to nurse his ailing body and wander in the garden of his house at Stoke Newington contemplating the ‘Chequer-work’ of events that had been his life, but such an ending was hardly compatible with his restless spirit. The engagement between Henry Baker and Defoe’s daughter Sophia began to founder over questions involving the extent of her dowry. What Defoe said about trade as a form of crime without morality seems to have applied to his dealings over Sophia’s dowry. It seems clear that once the marriage became a matter of business, of money and property, Defoe treated it without decent feeling. As if his relations with Sophia and Henry Baker were not sufficient cause for him to worry about the vicissitudes of marriage, Defoe had been writing about the role of women in marriage for a number of years. Defoe left two works unpublished at his death, The Compleat English Gentleman and Of Royal Education.

Keywords: Daniel Defoe; Henry Baker; dowry; marriage; crime; women; The Compleat English Gentleman; Of Royal Education; property; death

Chapter.  9778 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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