Dialogue and Didacticism: Defoe's Conduct and Advice Literature, Penny Pritchard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Daniel Defoe
EditorsNicholas Seager, J A Downie
Place of PublicationCroydon, UK
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780191998560
ISBN (Print)9780198827177
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2023

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks
PublisherOxford University Press


  • Defoe, religion, conduct, early modern, literature


Dive into the research topics of 'Dialogue and Didacticism: Defoe's Conduct and Advice Literature, Penny Pritchard'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this