Daniel Defoe's last novel "Roxana" is perhaps his darkest. Using his "fallen woman" archetype established in his seminal work "Moll Flanders", Defoe tracks the mercurial life of an unnamed female protagonist who adopts the pseudonym Roxana. The story of her rise and fall is a captivating account of the destructive powers of greed and seduction. Roxana begins as a deserted wife with five children. She chooses a life of prostitution for sustenance, and discovers opportunity to climb the social and economic ranks. Quickly Roxana finds herself deeply immersed in a life of excess and vice. She swings from powerful suitor to suitor, acquiring fortunes from each. Her sexual exploits transform her into a self-empowered economically independent social climber. Yet this liberated life comes with its prices. Defoe's "Roxana" is a bold and powerful narrative—one that begs for an inquiry into the role of sex and power in a capitalistic society. An engrossing novel, "Roxana" remains a classic of English letters and one of Defoe's finest.
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Published May 15, 2012
Literature & Fiction.