2024 Student Research Conference:
37th Annual Student Research Conference

Authorial Intentions Versus Character Intentions in Moll Flanders

Abigail N. Funkhouser
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Ian Watt asserts that others in his field give both Daniel Defoe and his novel, Moll Flanders, too much credit as Virginia Woolf’s analysis of Defoe’s works may allow her to “[see] more than is really there.” Watt picks through the problems he perceives in the novel, including those of irony, intention, and character/author separation, attracting the attention of fellow critic Arnold Kettle. Kettle, in response, defends Moll Flanders through a different perspective. However, Watt and Kettle disagree on Defoe’s intentions regarding Moll’s character depiction, opening up two entirely different sets of criteria for judging the novel. This paper will examine the ways in which Watt and Kettle create a discourse regarding authorial intent and conscious literary design, calling into question the extent to which Defoe involves himself in the writing process of Moll Flanders.

Keywords: Ian Watt, Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders, Arnold Kettle


Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Session: 105-3
Location: SUB 3202
Time: 9:45

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