The economic journalism and
religious courtship of Daniel Defoe.
religious courtship of Daniel Defoe.
1. James Joyce, 1918.
He can barely see and there is a naked woman in bed with him. She is flatulent and constantly answers in the affirmative. Issues of nature vs. society meander through his head as his erection gains steam. Her brogue is thick and lovely and she asks him to be a dear and turn out the light. She gets nervous undressing in front of men still, she says. He doesn't want her to know of his failing eyesight, just wants her to feel comfortable. She has a flower in her hair. She has a great big ass, a gorgeous ass, one that he wants to write poetry about and it's so big that he could literally write the poetry on it. He chuckles at the thought and reaches for the lamp on the table beside the bed and ends up knocking over several books stacked there, and they all fall to the floor.
2. Wilkie Collins, 1868.
Charles Dickens was one of Wilkie Collins' closest friends, and they were always bouncing story ideas off of each other. Especially when they were doing cocaine together. Their binges were highly creative explosions of creativity. Then they switched over to opium and they both remained talkative, but the vibe wasn't the same. One night as they were resting in Dickens' lounge, Collins told Dickens about the abuses he suffered at boarding school, how several of his fellow classmates would often come upon him at night and force him to create and tell stories for their pleasure, and they'd only let him go to sleep after they had been properly entertained. "It was those brutes who first awakened in me, their poor little victim, a power of which but for them I might never have been aware... When I left school I continued telling stories for my own pleasure," Wilkie Collins said. He blushed a little, having never revealed something so personal about himself to anyone ever before. He was proud of himself but when he looked over he saw that Charles had already fallen asleep on the other couch.
3. Karl Marx, 1867.
Austrian economics are bullshit. Race, gender, the lack of female agency. Labor is more important than capital. Strife defines you. Work is poetry, especially in the face of cultural relativism. The power of trade over the desire for leisure as currency in the constantly shifting battle between financial and spiritual development as a whole. Karl was reading and making notes in the margins. His worldview was expanding and causing him to look down upon the worldview of others. Soon his daughter Jenny would be home from her date and he was eager to listen to how it went and then to sternly tell her of how he didn't approve of her latest boytoy. He would gently suggest to her the perils of being the inamorata to a man with no prospects, no clearly definable future. Karl is surrounded by beautiful women named Jenny, and they are all forces of nature, primal, wild, regal, glorious, unable to be tamed. He desires to keep their affections all to himself. His wife, Jenny, has gone up to bed already and he's eager to lay his weary old body down beside her and be born again.
4. Jonathan Swift, 1726.
Jonathan Swift doesn't like Daniel Defoe. Jonathan Swift lives in a world of mischievous little people and flying islands and talking horse folk. Jonathan Swift's books will never be out of print. Jonathan Swift is Irish and knows that God loves him. Jonathan Swift's works float between Menippean satire and children's literature, with just a dash of proto-science fiction. Jonathan Swift believes that no man shall come before the whole of society, at least not in terms of human capability. Jonathan Swift does okay with the ladies, but they know their place and he knows his. Jonathan Swift will always be popular, always be well regarded, and will always feel as though his life has been lived in the shadow of Daniel Defoe's.
5. Daniel Defoe, 1719.
He wrote by candlelight and sometimes wondered if God really did want him to be happy in this life. He was so lonely, so lonely that even in his fiction he was stranded upon an island. In his dreams he was alone and learned that the rules of God didn't apply to everyone everywhere. In his dreams he feared the men who chased after him, chased him through the trees and the foliage. These men wanted to eat him. He clenches his fist and writes faster. The story is almost done and when it is finished, he'll feel better. It'll be a good yarn, he's sure, and it'll show the world that certain things still matter, even in trying times and even in the most extreme of circumstances. The cool breeze coming through the window again threatens to extinguish his candle and he considers retiring for the evening. He's written a lot tonight and he feels good about it. Today is Thursday and tomorrow is Friday and he'll have more to say then.