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Milton in the Long Restoration$
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Blair Hoxby and Ann Baynes Coiro

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198769774

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198769774.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 16 May 2022

Friday as Fit Help

Friday as Fit Help

(p.335) 18 Friday as Fit Help
Milton in the Long Restoration

Mary Nyquist

Oxford University Press

Cultural status, periodization, and disciplinary boundaries have combined to prevent consideration of Defoe’s interest in Milton. Detailed narratological analysis shows how the famous scene where Friday voluntarily subjects himself to his ‘master’ is indebted to the episode of Paradise Lost where Adam’s desire for a ‘fit help’ is providentially satisfied. In both, the lonely male European’s needs are given narrative priority and affective, ideological significance. Defoe’s trilogy, however, revisions transatlantic slavery so as to make it appear the result of contract not violence or status, a project in line with contemporary ameliorative discourses. To this end, Robinson Crusoe takes issue with Locke’s appeal to self-preservation in the Second Treatise’s theorization of slavery; Defoe, like Milton, emphasizes servitude’s origins in divine penalty. Its cannily ambiguous stance towards the Royal African Company’s monopoly, together with evidence regarding day-names, reveal Robinson Crusoe’s commitment to racialized slavery.

Keywords:   cannibalism, Defoe, Milton, Locke, identification, narratology, Paradise Lost, political theory, racialization, Robinson Crusoe, Royal African Company, transatlantic slavery

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