However, the poems discussed here are, for the most part, well established in the canon.
Some details are relatively harmless, such as Defoe’s reasoning that educated women will be more charming, interesting conversationalists.
Others are more cringe-worthy, such as Defoe’s advice to improve women so that they are fit for men’s use just as men would rear horses.
In fact, he remarks, some of his contemporaries are women lucky enough to have received high-quality educations, and their excellent writing proves that women have as much potential as men.
In one of the essay’s most progressive moments, Defoe supposes men exile women from school because they are afraid of being surpassed.
Defoe uses religious references to establish his own credibility and moral high ground.
He states that God made women capable of learning and that none of God’s creation is unnecessary.Daniel Defoe was born Daniel Foe in 1660 in London, the son of a butcher (he began to use “Defoe” more frequently beginning in 1696).Defoe became a merchant but went bankrupt in 1692 and left the world of business in 1703.The essay, while impressively forward-thinking, contains elements that are sexist by today’s standards.Defoe appeals to men’s self-interest as frequently, if not more frequently, as he does to their moral and ethical obligations.The essay shows its age most as it concludes, reassuring readers that educated women will know better than to interfere in government and other male arenas.Lily Carroll works for a non-profit children's literacy organization.Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page.Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move.Defoe anticipates 19th-century pro-feminist arguments by the likes of John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor when he points out that sexist stereotypes act as self-fulfilling prophecies.He proposes that the justification for denying women education — their supposed intellectual inferiority — is actually a result of denying women education.