He is most famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe , published in , which is claimed to be second only to the Bible in its number of translations. Intellectuals and political leaders paid attention to his fresh ideas and sometimes consulted with him. Defoe was a prolific and versatile writer, producing more than three hundred works [4] —books, pamphlets, and journals—on diverse topics, including politics, crime, religion, marriage, psychology, and the supernatural. He was also a pioneer of business journalism [5] and economic journalism. His birthdate and birthplace are uncertain, and sources offer dates from to , with the summer or early autumn of considered the most likely. In Defoe's early childhood, he experienced some of the most unusual occurrences in English history: in , 70, were killed by the Great Plague of London , and the next year, the Great Fire of London left standing only Defoe's and two other houses in his neighbourhood. His mother, Alice, had died by the time he was about ten. Defoe was educated at the Rev. Defoe entered the world of business as a general merchant, dealing at different times in hosiery, general woollen goods, and wine. His ambitions were great and he was able to buy a country estate and a ship as well as civets to make perfume , though he was rarely out of debt. He was forced to declare bankruptcy in With his debts and political difficulties, the marriage may have been troubled, but it lasted 47 years and produced eight children. Queen Mary and her husband William III were jointly crowned in , and Defoe became one of William's close allies and a secret agent. He died with little wealth and evidence of lawsuits with the royal treasury. By , he was back in England, now formally using the name "Defoe" and serving as a "commissioner of the glass duty", responsible for collecting taxes on bottles. In , he ran a tile and brick factory in what is now Tilbury in Essex and lived in the parish of Chadwell St Mary. As many as titles have been ascribed to Defoe, ranging from satirical poems, political and religious pamphlets, and volumes. Furbank and Owens argue for the much smaller number of published items in Critical Bibliography Defoe's first notable publication was An Essay Upon Projects , a series of proposals for social and economic improvement, published in His most successful poem, The True-Born Englishman , defended the king against the perceived xenophobia of his enemies, satirising the English claim to racial purity. In , Defoe presented the Legion's Memorial to Robert Harley , then Speaker of the House of Commons —and his subsequent employer—while flanked by a guard of sixteen gentlemen of quality. It demanded the release of the Kentish petitioners, who had asked Parliament to support the king in an imminent war against France. The death of William III in once again created a political upheaval, as the king was replaced by Queen Anne who immediately began her offensive against Nonconformists. It was published anonymously, but the true authorship was quickly discovered and Defoe was arrested. The truth of this story is questioned by most scholars, although John Robert Moore later said that "no man in England but Defoe ever stood in the pillory and later rose to eminence among his fellow men". After his three days in the pillory, Defoe went into Newgate Prison. Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer , brokered his release in exchange for Defoe's co-operation as an intelligence agent for the Tories. In exchange for such co-operation with the rival political side, Harley paid some of Defoe's outstanding debts, improving his financial situation considerably. It caused severe damage to London and Bristol , uprooted millions of trees, and killed more than 8, people, mostly at sea. The event became the subject of Defoe's The Storm , which includes a collection of witness accounts of the tempest. In the same year, he set up his periodical A Review of the Affairs of France which supported the Harley Ministry , chronicling the events of the War of the Spanish Succession — The Review ran three times a week without interruption until Defoe was amazed that a man as gifted as Harley left vital state papers lying in the open, and warned that he was almost inviting an unscrupulous clerk to commit treason; his warnings were fully justified by the William Gregg affair. When Harley was ousted from the ministry in , Defoe continued writing the Review to support Godolphin , then again to support Harley and the Tories in the Tory ministry of —

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