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Literature / Moll Flanders

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Describe Moll Flanders here.

Well, we don't really need to, given that the entire story is revealed by the full title (*takes a breath*): The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, Etc. Who Was Born In Newgate, and During a Life of Continu'd Variety For Threescore Years, Besides Her Childhood, Was Twelve Year a Whore, Five Times a Wife [Whereof Once To Her Own Brother], Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon In Virginia, At Last Grew Rich, Liv'd Honest, and Died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums. (*breathes*) Whew.

Outside that, all you really need to know is that it's a novel published in 1722 written by Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe, and that it received several adaptations, including a 1965 film starring Kim Novak as Moll, a 1996 film starring Robin Wright as Moll, and a TV miniseries also from 1996, starring Alex Kingston as Moll.

Moll Flanders provides examples of:

Adaptations provide examples of:

  • Dawson Casting: In the 1996 miniseries, 33-year-old Alex Kingston played Moll from the age of 18 onwards. (She hardly looks any older when she gets transported: at that point, Moll is 61 in the novel, and so far as the miniseries' chronology makes sense, she ought to be about 50.)
  • Setting Update: The 1996 miniseries shifts the setting, just a few decades into the Restoration period. The novel ends in 1683, from which one can work backwards and see that Moll is born in 1614, first goes to London in the late 1630s, and is transported in 1675. In the early scenes in Colchester, the miniseries does look as if it's set in the early-to-mid 17th century - but it turns out that's just due to Colchester being a backwater. The moment she goes up to London, everybody's dressed in Restoration finery, and she attends a performance of The Country Wife, first staged in 1675; shortly before being transported, she goes back to the theatre to see The Way of the World (1700).