This chapter analyses Daniel Defoe’s extensive corpus of didactic writings, particularly The Family Instructor (1715) and Religious Courtship (1722), which make extensive use of fictional dialogue. The first section surveys Defoe’s conduct books directed at various groups in society, which provided advice on topics as diverse as sexual morality, commercial integrity, and domestic worship. The second section establishes the didactic models with which Defoe worked, particularly those that used invented dialogues, and the religious and social contexts that Defoe’s advice literature addressed. The final section examines Defoe’s dialogic didacticism, showing how he educates and entertains readers through realistic and lively illustrations of moral quandaries that allow him to capture the point of view of disputants as well as to provide authoritative commentary to inculcate moral wisdom. Defoe emerges from the analysis as an artful didactic writer.
|Oxford University Press
- Defoe, religion, conduct, early modern, literature