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Daniel Defoe, Contrarian

by Robert James Merrett

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english, irish, scottish, welsh, gothic & romance
list price: $85.00
also available: eBook
published: 2013

A highly conscious wordsmith, Daniel Defoe used expository styles in his fiction and non-fiction that reflected his ability to perceive material and intellectual phenomena from opposing, but not contradictory perspectives. Moreover, the boundaries of genre within his wide-ranging oeuvre can prove highly fluid. In this study, Robert James Merrett approaches Defoe’s body of work using interdisciplinary methods that recognize dialectic in his verbal creativity and cognitive awareness.

Examining more than ninety of Defoe’s works, Merrett contends that this author’s literariness exploits a conscious dialogue that fosters the reciprocity of traditional and progressive authorial procedures. Along the way, he discusses Defoe’s lexical and semantic sensibility, his rhetorical and aesthetic theories, his contrarian theology, and more. Merrett proposes that Defoe’s contrarian outlook celebrates a view of consciousness that acknowledges the brain’s bipartite structure, and in so doing illustrates how cognitive science may be applied to further explorations of narrative art.

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Editorial Reviews

‘There are many excellent things about Mr. Merrett’s most recent book on Defoe. He writes with a full grasp of Defoe’s cannon and is not afraid of deviating from the bibliography amassed by P.N. Furbank and W.R Owens.’

— The Scriblerian December 2015

‘Merrett’s book does admirable justice to the complexity and artistry of Defoe as a prose writer… This study is an important contribution to Defoe scholarship and will spur future contributions.’

— Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol 38:02:2015

‘Daniel Defoe, Contrarian is an impressive piece of work, closely grounded in primary sources, and scholars working with those sources will benefit from serious engagement with this study. In scope and erudition, it is a book to admire.’

— Journal of Eighteenth Century Fiction, vol 26:03:2014
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About the Author

Robert James Merrett

Robert James Merrett is professor emeritus of English and film studies at the University of Alberta.
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