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Daniel Defoe: Master of FictionsHis Life and Works$
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Maximillian E. Novak

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199261543

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199261543.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 October 2021

Enter Henry Baker

Enter Henry Baker

(p.648) 27 Enter Henry Baker
Daniel Defoe: Master of Fictions

Maximillian E. Novak

Oxford University Press

Some time in 1724 Henry Baker, an aspiring poet with a unique ability to teach deaf children to speak and to give them a general education, began a journey from Enfield to Stoke Newington where he stayed with a local family. Baker states that Daniel Defoe first sought him out here. If this is so, Baker met with Defoe for almost three years before he began his courtship of Defoe’s younger daughter, Sophia, on August 11, 1727. The story that Baker wanted to tell involved the difficulties entailed in the courtship — difficulties caused by Defoe’s unwillingness to provide what Baker considered a satisfactory dowry. Before the great deistic offensive of the 1720s, two important controversies (scandals might be the better word) attracted Defoe’s attention, one within the Church of England and the other among the ranks of the Dissenters. Defoe’s first full-length attack upon the position of the deists appears to have been An Essay upon Literature, which, according to John Robert Moore, appeared in April or May 1726.

Keywords:   Daniel Defoe, Henry Baker, courtship, Stoke Newington, Church of England, Dissenters, deists, An Essay upon Literature, Sophia, dowry

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