1. Robinson Crusoe - This book is considered, by many, the first English novel.
Based on the real-life experiences of the castaway Alexander Selkirk, the book has had a perennial appeal among readers of all ages-–especially the young adult reading public–-who continue to find inspiration in the inventive resourcefulness of its hero, sole survivor of a shipwreck who is marooned on an uninhabited island.
2. The Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe - After the death of his wife, Robinson Crusoe is overcome by the old wanderlust, and sets out with his faithful companion Friday to see his island once again. Thus begins a journey which will last ten years and nine months, in which Crusoe travels over the world, along the way facing dangers and discoveries in Madagascar, China, and Siberia
3. Moll Flanders -
The full title of the novel tells part of its story: “The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, Etc. Who was born in Newgate, and during a life of continu’d Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv’d Honest and died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums.” 4. A Journal of the Plague Year -
The History of the Plague in London’ (1722) is a fictionalized account of the bubonic plague epidemic that struck London in 1665 which Defoe witnessed as a five-year old, the year before the Great Fire of London. This work is among the first English novels. Like ‘Robinson Crusoe’, ‘Moll Flanders’ and several other of his novels, Defoe published this work as though it were based on primary sources and was not, so he pretended, a novel at all. This was Defoe’s way of developing an audience among the reading public for fiction writing. 6. The Life, Adventures & Piracies of Captain Singleton is a "bipartite adventure story whose first half covers a traversal of Africa, and whose second half taps into the contemporary fascination with piracy.
7. Roxana: The Fortunate Mistress - The full title of the novel is Roxana: The Fortunate Mistress Or, a History of the Life and Vast Variety of Fortunes of Mademoiselle de Beleau, Afterwards Called the Countess de Wintselsheim. The novel concerns the story of an unnamed "fallen woman", the second time Defoe created such a character (the first was a similar female character in Moll Flanders). In Roxana, a woman who takes on various pseudonyms, including "Roxana," describes her fall from wealth thanks to abandonment by a "fool" of a husband and movement into prostitution upon his abandonment. Roxana moves up and down through the social spectrum several times. 10. The Storm - The Storm (1704) holds a special place in the writings of Daniel Defoe. Widely considered a founding document of modern journalism, The Storm narrates the calamitous events of November 1703 that are framed by the author in the first four chapters. These are followed by verbatim eyewitness accounts, solicited from survivors through a newspaper advertisement that Defoe placed shortly after the hurricane struck. Defoe is primarily known for his later fiction, loosely based on historical calamities, such as his Journal of the Plague Year (1722), and by fictionalized novels purporting to be first-person accounts, including Robinson Crusoe (1719) and Moll Flanders (1722). It can be argued that The Storm was the journalistic crucible in which the master realist Defoe forged his later novelistic artistry, with its penchant for "the telling detail." In fact, his fiction novel The Plague Year remains a required reading for journalism students to this day, side-by-side with the non-fiction account of The Storm.