the look of moll flanders - at the time in which moll flanders is set, london, england, (along with

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  • The Look of

    Moll Flanders

    A pictorial aid to envisioning Defoe’s world

    Dr. Nick Melczarek ENGL 252 Aspects of the Novel

  • Newgate Prison, London

    Inner prison gate

    Newgate yard hanging

    Newgate cell

    Correlate with John Hall’s “Hell on Earth” PDF

  • Newgate Prison, London corroborate with Hall’s

    “Hell on Earth”

    (this image actually from Hogarth’s series The Rake’s Progress, [1734

    engraving based on earlier 1733 painting])

  • Servants’ clothing in wealthy English households,

    Hogarth, Heads of Six Servants c.1750

    (late 1600s-early1700s)

  • “Gentlewoman” “Lady of Quality”

    Hogarth, Olivia Fenton, Duchess of Bolton (1740-50)

  • “Gentlewoman” “Lady of Quality”

  • “Gentlewoman” “Lady of Quality”

  • “Flanders” lace Money around your neck

    and wrists

    Remember that everything in this time period is made by hand. The best-quality lace was produced in Flanders (today’s lower Netherlands and upper Belgium). So – how was real lace made, and why was it such a sign of wealth?

  • Real lace is made by creating a pattern,

    inserting pins into it, and then knotting

    out that pattern around the pins with

    hundreds of small bobbins, weaving over

    and under – the thread being either silk,

    linen flax, or cotton. It took hundreds of

    hours to make good-quality lace, so it was

    very expensive, and a way to display one’s

    wealth on one’s person.

  • So, imagine how

    much it must have

    cost to create the

    ornate sleeves and

    ruffled collars of the

    time period.


    £ = symbol for British pound,

    English currency

  • Even moderately-wealthy people

    and the emerging “middle class”

    tried to afford some bit of lace,

    such as the commonly-worn lace

    shoulder-length collar, cap, and

    sleeve ends shown here.

    So—when Moll adopts the name

    “Flanders,” what does that name

    indicate both to us (readers) and

    to people in Moll’s own world (in

    the diegesis)?

    Alex Kingston as

    Moll (left) during

    the Colchester

    episode, 1996

    BBC production

  • “Gentleman” “Man of Quality”

  • “Gentleman” “Man of Quality”

  • “Vanity is the perfection of a Fop” --Moll on the Linen-Draper

    fop = n. One [always male] who is foolishly attentive to and vain of his appearance, dress, or

    manners; a dandy, an exquisite. (from the verb fop “to act like a fool,” from Old French fat, Latin fatuus = “fool”, thereby a specifically gendered

    insult indicating lack of “masculine” self-unconcern but excess of “feminine” self-concern , vanity, and social

    affectation; also implying a shallow character and superficial intellect and set of interests )

  • The English Colonies in the New World, and the indenturment system

    Correlate with online documents on indenture

  • The city of Bath, England

    Correlate to PDF Secrest’s “Bumptious Bath: The

    Town that Beau Nash Built.”

    Alex Kingston* as Moll during the

    Bath sequence, 1996 BBC production

    * Yes – Dr. River Song on Doctor Who!

  • Cheapside, London

    At the time in which Moll Flanders is set, London, England, (along with Paris, in

    France) was one of the most populous cities in Europe, vastly crowded, with

    narrow streets remaining from the Middle Ages. Not until the Great fire of 1666

    destroyed large parts of the central city would the city “modernize” into the

    footprint it still carries today. Nevertheless, it was the heart of English/British

    culture, with theatres, palaces, restaurants, inns, and above all gambling houses.

  • Cheapside, London

    Multiple social ills plagued the vast

    population of London: debt and

    bankruptcy from gambling,

    alcoholism (gin and rum being

    relatively plentiful); prostitution

    (both sexes); sexually-transmitted

    diseases (a great number of the

    population carried syphilis);

    malnutrition; theft, rape, mugging

    Hogarth, Gin Lane (1751), the artist’s exaggerated

    allegorical work on the “evils” of drinking gin (as

    opposed to the “merits” of drinking beer)

  • images

    Newgate prison door:

    Newgate prison cell:

    Newgate yard hanging:

    English servant clothing:

    Gentlewoman/Lady of Quality:

    Gentlewomen/Lady of Quality:


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