Daniel Defoe (1660-1731), son of a London butcher, James Foe, took the pen name Defoe in 1703, the year he was pilloried and jailed for publishing a notorious attack on the religious hypocrisy and intolerance of the English political class. His imprisonment ruined his lucrative trade as a merchant but made him a popular figure with the public. Freed by the intervention of rising statesman Robert Harley, Defoe became a renowned journalist, but also a government spy. Robinson Crusoe, his first work of fiction, was published in his sixtieth year, but was soon followed by other lasting novels, including The Life and Adventures of Mr Duncan Campbell, Moll Flanders, A Journal of the Plague Year and Roxana.
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