Daniel Defoe was born in 1660 in a family of Dissenters and was educated in the Dissenting Academy of Newington Green. He worked as an apprentice and then on his own but met two bankruptcies which he faced not only with legal actions but was by illicit doings. He started his career as a journalist writing for the Whig papers and his greatest achievement was a periodical, “The Review” which was published every two o three days and dealt with religious and political problems as well as economical interests. It also contained a moralistic and humorous section called “Advice from the Scandalous Club”.
When Queen Anne ascended to the throne, she didn’t appreciate Defoe’s critical attitude and had him arrested. In return to his freedom he denied his Whig’s ideas and became a secret agent for the new government. He started to write novels later in life, when he was already sixty, and in 1719 he published his first: “Robinson Crusoe”, the story of a restless man in search of his identity.
Thanks to its originality, Defoe’s novel laid the foundations for the development of the realistic novel.