An analysis of the influence of the Quakers on Daniel Defoe

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Reeve, Juliet

Every biographer of Daniel Defoe has something to say concerning his relations to the Quakers. Yet all are so vague that the reader interested in pursuing the question as to just what was Defoe's relationship to this then-despised sect, just what was his attitude toward them, finds himself quite baffled. When he analyzes these known contacts, he begins to realize why the biographers have been so vague concerning them; in fact, he wonders instead why they have been mentioned at all. It is only when a further study reveals that Defoe must have known the Quakers much more intimately than is betrayed by the obvious facts that the reader sees that the biographers have been right in including this sect among the influences which shaped Defoe's life and philosophy, even though the exact nature of such influence has not been understood.

Table of Content
The problem -- Direct evidence in Defoe's writings of acquaintance with the Quakers -- Circumstantial evidence in Defoe's life and writings pointing to an even wider acquaintance with Quakers and their writings than is proved by direct evidence -- A study of certain characters in Defoe's narratives which show evidence of having their source in Quaker books and pamphlets of the time -- Conclusion -- Bibliography
Thesis (M.A.)-- University of Wichita, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of English