Abstract

Abstract:

Daniel Defoe's fiction has never fit neatly into theories of the novel that rely upon Enlightenment ideals of secularization and development, largely because of his novels' dependence upon divine providence to explain the accidents of everyday life. Reading Defoe's philosophizing protagonists alongside Thomas Hobbes's notion of providence, I argue that the intense causal inquiry his characters undergo results in what I term "skeptical providentialism." I argue that causal awareness during this period required writers to challenge notions of both determinism and human agency, which in part produces the type of rational individual assumed to be fundamental to the eighteenth-century novel.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 107-120
Launched on MUSE
2019-07-01
Open Access
No
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