Daniel Defoe is regarded today as a literary genius who played a crucial role in the invention of the English novel and created the world-famous character Robinson Crusoe. It is less well known that Defoe was also an enthusiastic and influential pioneering journalist. This paper critically assesses the literary techniques Defoe used in his great work of journalism, the Review (1704- 1713). Defoe advised his readers how to write clearly and persuasively, and his advice is considered here, illustrated by examples from the Review. Whereas some of the examples clearly exemplify his advice, others show he did not always follow his own exhortations. In particular, although he emphasised the need to write truthful reports, he frequently included fiction in his journalism. Defoe’s techniques included the use of stories, dialogue and bombast - techniques that survive in modern journalism.
Recommended CitationHannis, G., “An example to the rest of your scribbling crew”: The influential literary techniques of the Eighteenth-century journalist Daniel Defoe, Asia Pacific Media Educator, 18, 2007, 44-57.