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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 February 2022

Pat Rogers
University of South Florida
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Defoe's Tour and Early Modern Britain
Panorama of the Nation
, pp. 306 - 312
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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Primary Sources

A Tour thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain, Divided into Circuits or Journies … By a Gentleman. 3 vols. (1724–7, for 1728).Google Scholar
A Tour thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain. 2 vols, with introduction by G. D. H. Cole (London, 1928).Google Scholar
A Tour thro’ London about the Year 1725, edited with introduction and notes by Sir Beeton, Mayson M. and Chancellor, E. Beresford (London, 1929; reprinted New York, 1969). Contains Letter 5 and opening of Letter 6.Google Scholar
A Tour thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain, 2 vols, with introductions by Cole, G. D. H. and Browning, D. C. (London, 1962). This edition was originally published in 1927 without the Scottish sections as A Tour through England and Wales.Google Scholar
A Tour thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain, abridged and edited by Rogers, Pat with introduction and notes (Harmondsworth, 1971).Google Scholar
A Tour thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain, 3 vols, with introduction by Rogers, Pat (London, 1983).Google Scholar
A Tour thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain, abridged and edited by Rogers, Pat with introduction, and photographs by Simon McBride (Exeter, 1989).Google Scholar
A Tour thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain, abridged and edited with introduction and notes by Furbank, P. N. and Owens, W. R. (New Haven, 1991; reissued London, 2007).Google Scholar
A Tour thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain, 3 vols, edited with introduction and notes by McVeagh, John. In Writings on Travel, Discovery and History by Daniel Defoe, 4 vols. (London, 2001).Google Scholar

Secondary Sources

Furbank, P. N. and Owens, W. R.. A Critical Bibliography of Daniel Defoe (London, 1998). The most dependable listing of the works, in which many dubious attributions are discarded.Google Scholar
The Letters of Daniel Defoe, edited by Healey, G. H. (Oxford, 1955). Still standard.Google Scholar
The Libraries of Daniel Defoe and Phillips Farewell, edited with introduction by Heidenreich., Helmut (Berlin, 1970). Contains excellent introduction and full indexes.Google Scholar
Backscheider, Paula R. Daniel Defoe: His Life (Baltimore, 1989). The most detailed account of the writer’s career.Google Scholar
Bastian, F. Defoe’s Early Life (Basingstoke, 1981). Contains much solid fact among more speculative suggestions.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Novak, Maximillian E. Daniel Defoe: Master of Fictions (Oxford, 2001). The fullest reading of the canon by the pre-eminent Defoe scholar of our time.Google Scholar
Richetti, John. The Life of Daniel Defoe: A Critical Biography (Chichester, 2005), Lively and intelligent within a comparatively short space.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Colley, Linda. Britons: Forging the Nation 1707–1837 (New Haven, 2nd ed., 2005). Central to an understanding of the forces that made the nation both unified and disparate at the time the Tour was written.Google Scholar
Holmes, Geoffrey and Szechi, Daniel, The Age of Oligarchy: Pre-Industrial Britain 1722–1783 (London, 1993). Describes in convincing detail the world that was just beginning to open up as the Tour appeared.Google Scholar
Hoppit, Julian. A Land of Liberty? England 1689–1727 (Oxford, 2000). The best broad survey of a period that coincided almost exactly with the span of Defoe’s writing career.Google Scholar
Langford, Paul. Eighteenth-Century Britain: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2000). A masterly feat of compression.Google Scholar
Langford, Paul ed. The Eighteenth Century 1688–1815 (Oxford, 2002). Seven essays by experts that repeatedly touch on the concerns prominent in the Tour.Google Scholar
Langford, Paul A Polite and Commercial People: England 1727–1783 (Oxford, 1989). Indispensable guide to the country as Defoe saw (and foresaw) its evolution.Google Scholar
Speck, W. A. Stability and Strife: England 1714–1760 (London, 1977). Especially good on the transition from Stuart to Hanoverian regimes.Google Scholar
Fox, Adam. Oral and Literate Culture in England 1500–1700 (Oxford, 2000). A brilliant evocation of a range of practices still important to Defoe.Google Scholar
Hay, Douglas and Rogers, Nicholas. Eighteenth-Century English Society: Shuttles and Swords (Oxford, 1997). Concentrates largely on the labouring poor.Google Scholar
Mingay, G. E. English Landed Society in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1963). A balanced survey of the structure and functions of the landed classes, and well-chosen references to illustrate country living, with several citations from the Tour.Google Scholar
Porter, Roy. English Society in the Eighteenth Century (London, rev. ed., 1990). Fizzes with ideas, as always with this author.Google Scholar
Bucholz, Robert O. and Ward, Joseph P., London: A Social and Cultural History 1550–1750 (Cambridge, 2012). Broad and informative.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Earle, Peter. A City Full of People: Men and Women of London 1650–1750 (London, 1994). Strong on the class of people from whom Defoe emerged.Google Scholar
Gatrell, Vic. The First Bohemians: Life and Art in London’s Golden Age (London, 2013). A brilliant portrayal of Covent Garden, Drury Lane and the Strand, a district Defoe and his fictional characters such as Moll Flanders knew well, and where several of his publishers operated.Google Scholar
Rudé, George. Hanoverian London 1714–1808 (London, 1971). Starts from a tour in Defoe’s footsteps.Google Scholar
Spence, Craig. London in the 1690s: A Social Atlas (London, 2000). Walks a reader round the changing city that Defoe surveyed, with the aid of modern charts and statistical techniques he would have admired and envied.Google Scholar
Waller, Maureen. 1700: Scenes from London Life (London, 2000). Enjoyable and well organised ‘cradle-to-grave’ portrait for the general reader. It is based on original sources, among which the voice most frequently heard is that of Defoe.Google Scholar
White, Jerry. A Great and Monstrous Thing: London in the Eighteenth Century (London, 2012). Enormous in conception and execution.Google Scholar
Borsay, Peter. The English Urban Renaissance: Culture and Society in the Provincial Town, 1660–1770 (Oxford, 1989). A book that might almost have been written as a background to large sections of the Tour.Google Scholar
Borsay, Peter and Proudfoot, Lindsay, eds, Provincial Towns in Early Modern England and Ireland: Change, Convergence and Divergence (Oxford, 2002). Contains several relevant essays.Google Scholar
Clark, Peter, ed., The Cambridge Urban History of Britain, vol. II: 1540–1840 (Cambridge, 2000). Authoritative contributions which regularly bump into Defoe’s account of the nation.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Corfield, P. J. The Impact of English Towns 1700–1800 (Oxford, 1982). Informative, readable and reliable.Google Scholar
Ellis, Joyce. The Georgian Town 1680–1840 (Basingstoke, 2001). Clear and compact survey of the kinds of places with which Defoe was intimately familiar.Google Scholar
Thirsk, Joan, ed. The Agrarian History of England and Wales, vol. V: 1640–1750: Agrarian Change (Cambridge, 1984). Contributors to this major series regularly cite the Tour on rural landscape and agricultural practices.Google Scholar
Thirsk, Joan ed. Rural England: An Illustrated History of the Landscape (Oxford, 2000). A broad sweep of differing landscape forms, almost all of which figure in Defoe’s narrative, including downs, wolds, parks, river valleys, meadows, heaths, forests, marshes, fens, moors, dales and common land. Several contributors cite the Tour.Google Scholar
Ashton, T. S. Economic Fluctuations in England 1700–1800 (Oxford, 1959). Good account of the patterns of change that explain some of the things that Defoe observed.Google Scholar
Carswell, John. The South Sea Bubble (rev. ed., Stroud, 2001). Still the most accessible and coherent narrative of the events underlying Defoe’s treatment of recent financial history.Google Scholar
Dickson, P. G. M. The Financial Revolution in England: A Study in the Development of Public Credit, 1688–1756 (London, 1967). An influential work, which once more covers the crucial years in Defoe’s career, with its midpoint in 1727.Google Scholar
Mathias, Peter. The Transformation of England: Essays in the Social and Economic History of England in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1979). Studies bearing on several aspects of economic activity touched on in the Tour.Google Scholar
Albert, William. The Turnpike Road System in England 1663–1840 (Cambridge, 1972). A standard work on one of Defoe’s special subjects.Google Scholar
Fiennes, Celia. Journeys, edited by Morris, Christopher (London, 1949). Provides an illuminating contrast with Defoe.Google Scholar
Macky, John. A Journey though England [Scotland] in Familiar Letters, 3 vols (1714–23). Possibly the spur for the Tour, and certainly its principal contemporary rival.Google Scholar
Moir, Esther. The Discovery of Britain: The English Tourists 1540 to 1840 (London, 1964). Sympathetic treatment of Defoe in the context of Leland, Fiennes. Stukeley, Young, Cobbett and others.Google Scholar
Pawson, Eric. Transport and Economy: The Turnpike Roads of Eighteenth Century Britain (London, 1977). Particularly valuable for its treatment of the wider transport system and of carriers, both topics germane to the coverage in the Tour.Google Scholar
Tinniswood, Adrian. The Polite Tourist: Four Centuries of Country House Visiting (New York, 1999). Helps to set Defoe’s sometimes impolite tourism in context.Google Scholar
Andrews, J. H.Defoe and the Sources of his Tour’, Geographical Journal, 126 (1960): 268–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Andrews, J. H.Defoe’s Tour and Macky’s Journey’, Notes & Queries, ns. 7 (1960): 290–92. Pioneering articles by a major historian of cartography.Google Scholar
Bowen, Emanuel. Britannia Depicta: or Ogilby Improved, introduction by J. B. Harley (1720, reprinted Newcastle upon Tyne, 1970). Representative of the roadbooks which Defoe certainly knew.Google Scholar
Camden, William. Britannia, edited by Edmund Gibson (1695, reprinted Newton Abbot, 1971). Defoe’s most important single source.Google Scholar
Harley, J. B. The New Nature of Maps: Essays in the History of Cartography (Baltimore, 2001). Influential and in places illuminating on Defoe’s sense of the world.Google Scholar
Haycock, David Boyd. William Stukeley: Science, Religion and Archaeology in Eighteenth-Century England (Woodbridge, 2002). Stukeley’s Itinerarium was made across England in the same period as the Tour, but with a different intent. This scholarly account helps to illuminate the ways in which the landscape could be interpreted.Google Scholar
Sweet, Rosemary. Antiquaries: The Discovery of the Past in Eighteenth-Century Britain (London, 2004). Excellent study of a group of writers whom Defoe claimed to disdain but regularly consulted.Google Scholar
Houston, R. A. The Population History of Britain and Ireland 1550–1750 (Cambridge, 1995). Briskly supplies basic facts that illuminate Defoe’s world.Google Scholar
Wrigley, E. A. People, Cities and Wealth: The Transformation of Traditional Society (Oxford, 1987). Contains classic essays by a noted historical demographer, some with obvious links to the materials of the Tour.Google Scholar
Wrigley, E. A and Schofield, R. S., The Population History of England 1541–1871: A Reconstruction (Cambridge, 1989). The bible of this subject.Google Scholar
Allan, David. Scotland in the Eighteenth Century: Union and Enlightenment (Abingdon, 2013). Solid all-round survey.Google Scholar
Pittock, Murray G. H. Jacobitism (Basingstoke, 1998). A fine introduction by a leading scholar in this area.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Riley, P. W. J. The Union of England and Scotland: A Study of Anglo-Scottish Politics of the Eighteenth Century (Manchester, 1978). Remains unsupplanted.Google Scholar
Szechi, Daniel. 1715: The Great Jacobite Rebellion (New Haven, 2006). Authoritative account of an episode hovering behind the Tour.Google Scholar
Blanning, Tim. The Pursuit of Glory: The Five Revolutions That Made Modern Europe 1648–1815 (London, 2007). A superb conspectus of cultural history across the entire continent. Provides essential background to Defoe’s treatment of Britain, covering topics such as communications, demographics, trade and manufacture, social change, religion, leisure, the rural world, architecture and gardening and much more.Google Scholar
Cole, G. D. H. Persons and Periods (1938; reprinted Harmondsworth, 1945). Although mildly dated in places, these ‘studies’ (including essays on Defoe’s England; town life; London; roads, rivers and canals; and Cobbett) preserve Cole’s apposite commentary on matters relevant to the Tour.Google Scholar
Earle, Peter. The World of Defoe (London, 1976). A shrewd assessment of the writer and his work in relation to national and international concerns of the day, by an authority whose research interests coincided with many of Defoe’s own preoccupations.Google Scholar
Rogers, Pat. The Text of Great Britain: Theme and Design in Defoe’s Tour (Newark, DE, 1998). Discusses the making of the Tour, its rhetorical workings, and its historical context.Google Scholar
Bastian, F.Defoe’s Tour and the Historian’, History Today, 17 (1967): 845–51.Google Scholar
Borsay, Peter. ‘Urban Development in the Age of Defoe’, in Britain in the First Age of Party, ed. Jones, Clyve (London, 1987), 195219.Google Scholar
Bowers, Terence N.Great Britain Imagined: Nation, Citizen and Class in Defoe’s Tour thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain’. Prose Studies, 16 (1993): 148–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Duckworth, Alistair M., ‘Whig Landscapes in Defoe’s Tour’, Philological Quarterly, 61 (1982): 453–65.Google Scholar
Hill, Gerald. ‘Circling Defoe’, Arion, 21 (1990): 6984.Google Scholar
Parkes, Christopher. ‘“A True Survey of the Ground”: Defoe’s Tour and the Rise of Thematic Cartography’, Philological Quarterly, 74 (1995): 395415.Google Scholar
Rogers, Pat. ‘Daniel Defoe’s Knowledge of Essex: The Evidence of A Tour thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain’, Essex Society for Archaeology and History Transactions, 4th series, vol. 9 (2020 for 2018): 127–41.Google Scholar
Schellenberg, Betty A.Imagining the Nation in Defoe’s A Tour Thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain’, ELH, 62 (1995): 295311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Speller, Trevor. ‘Violence, Reason, and Enclosure in Defoe’s Tour’, Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900, 51 (2011): 585604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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  • Select Bibliography
  • Pat Rogers, University of South Florida
  • Book: Defoe's Tour and Early Modern Britain
  • Online publication: 04 February 2022
  • Chapter DOI:
Available formats