Jonathan Watt 's Defoe 's Transition From Literary Traditionalism
920 WordsDec 8, 20154 Pages
1a. According to Watt, Defoe’s transition from literary traditionalism to true individual experience mostly distinguishes Defoe from earlier writers. Defoe also rejects the traditional plot series, which sets him apart from writers like Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton, who “accepted the general premise of their times that, since Nature is essentially complete and unchanging in records, whether scriptural, legendary or historical, constitute[s] a definitive repertoire of human experience” (366). Meaning that Defoe did not just reiterate plots from previous literature, which turn out to be romanticized versions of historical legends and periods in history.
1b. I believe that Watt is accurate and that Defoe distinguishes his writing from others by making an emphasis on the individual character. Most of the earlier writers based their prose around a test of faith or trial that the protagonist either passes or fails. Most of these characters signify bigger themes, such as Una in The Faerie Queen, who stood for the one true faith of England, and other characters were based around significant people in feudal system such as Queen Elizabeth I, or Saint George: Patron of England. Every part of the stories signified something more significant, whereas Defoe takes his novel and tells the story of Moll Flanders.
2a. According to Watt, this dominant theory of the time period continued to incline toward “the use of traditional plots” (367) in written works. Defoe’s literary