Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 February 2022
The opening part of this book pursues aspects of form and function. Chapter 1 describes a vision of nationhood, as distinct from a nationalist manifesto, that can be found in the Tour, with an examination of some devices employed to create the desired image of Britain, along with certain factors that made this task more difficult. Defoe’s intentions are explored along various channels: among them, those of form, rhetorical devices, political and social ideology, historiographic legacy, sources, geographic and topographic content, treatment of the communications network, and folklore. A detailed review is made of the section on London, showing how intimately the author surveys the topography of the city, down to some small nooks and crannies. A cross-sectional analysis is made of a segment in Letter 2, to illustrate the range of concerns and variety of approaches found in the text. This segment also serves as a lead-in to the remainder of the book, since it touches on several topics that later chapters consider in more detail.