The Americas appear as an evocative setting in more than half of Daniel Defoe's vels, and often offer a new beginning for his characters. In the first full-length study of Defoe and colonialism, Dennis Todd explores why the New World loomed so large in Defoe's imagination. By focusing on the historical contexts that informed Defoe's depiction of American Indians, African slaves, and white indentured servants, Dennis Todd investigates the colonial assumptions that shaped his vels and, at the same time, uncovers how Defoe used details of the American experience in complex, often figurative ways to explore the psychological bases of the profound conversions and transformations that his heroes and heroines undergo. And by examining what Defoe knew and did t kw about America, what he falsely believed and what he kwingly falsified, Defoe's America probes the doubts, hesitancies, and contradictions he had about the colonial project he so fervently promoted.
Dennis Todd is Associate Professor of English at Georgetown University.