The son of a butcher, Defoe was trained for the Presbyterian ministry but instead established himself as a merchant in his early twenties. Declaring bankruptcy in 1692, Defoe was never able to completely free himself of creditors the rest of his life. He was imprisoned for his 1702 satire, "The Shortest Way With Dissenters," and was bailed out by a political friend. Defoe, considered by some the father of modern journalism, published, edited, and wrote for some 26 periodicals during his lifetime. Not until his later life did he take to writing novels, his Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719) being published not as a novel but an alleged memoir of a shipwrecked man. Moll Flanders (1722) and A Journal of the Plague Year (1722) cemented his reputation as a quasi-historical writer with a penchant for physical details.
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