Seager, NP (2022) The Afterlife of Daniel Defoe's Captain Singleton in the Seven Years' War. The Review of English Studies: the leading journal of English literature and language. ISSN 0034-6551

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Daniel Defoe’s pirate novel Captain Singleton (1720) was republished in 1757, during the political and military crises of the early stages of the Seven Years’ War. The fact that Singleton at this time was extensively rewritten has gone entirely unnoticed by scholars. The present article explains how this version of Defoe’s maritime picaresque fiction responded to national anxieties about naval performance, aristocratic leadership, and martial masculinity following the loss of Minorca, seeking to galvanise its readers during the privateering rush of this period and the more general appetite for a ‘blue-water’, colonial war strategy. In 1757, Bob Singleton is transformed from the stateless sea rover of Defoe’s original into a patriotic privateer who serves the British nation in an unofficial capacity, both as an African explorer in the first half and a maritime adventurer in the second. The 1757 novel shows the ways in which the rising taste for sentimental fiction, moving away from individualistic adventure stories, coalesced with imperialist and nationalist agendas in the mid-eighteenth century. This example of Defovian reception rewards the investigation of the literary afterlives of eighteenth-century fiction, aiding recognition of how novels endured and were revived, often in revised or remediated states, to reach different readerships and speak to new sociocultural contexts.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( The final version of this article and all relevant information related to it, including copyrights, can be found on the publisher website.
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2022 09:49
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2023 16:32

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