Abstract

According to the traditional interpretation, Defoe’s position on occasional conformity rests on a paradox: on the one hand, he was hostile to this practice; on the other, he was critical of the bill for preventing it. The issue seems to lie in this apparent contradiction. However, as we shall show, Defoe did not uniformly condemn the practice of occasional conformity. Nor was his denunciation of the bill prohibiting it constant. His position on these two related questions underwent a decisive change during the autumn of 1703. I argue that it was primarily due to his recruitment as Harley’s propagandist.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 349-361
Launched on MUSE
2013-05-11
Open Access
No
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