Episodic or novelistic? Law in the Atlantic and the form of Daniel Defoe's Colonel Jack

Cervantes, G. (2011) Episodic or novelistic? Law in the Atlantic and the form of Daniel Defoe's Colonel Jack. Eighteenth-Century Fiction, 24(2), pp. 247-277. (doi: 10.3138/ecf.24.2.247)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


Like other fictions by Daniel Defoe, The History and Remarkable Life of the Truly Honourable Col. Jacque, Commonly Call'd Col. Jack, draws together various literary genres. Until recently, this heterogeneity has been studied through a mode of ideological critique that privileges novelistic coherence, and Colonel Jack has long been dismissed as an ideological and aesthetic failure. Taking a different approach, this article examines how Defoe's ostensibly broken novel uses a mixture of genres and analogous rather than progressive plot lines to capture and resolve a contemporary problem: the stretching of British legal authority from internal struggles (with criminals, slaves, and Jacobites) to the permeable interimperial boundaries of the Atlantic. Historicized in the development of the illicit trade between Britain and Spanish America, Colonel Jack's famously problematic conclusion—a remorseless smuggler's adventure—does not offer a negative example for mercantile morality, but rather serves to theorize a legal regime based on negotiation.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cervantes, Dr Gabriel
Authors: Cervantes, G.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Journal Name:Eighteenth-Century Fiction
Publisher:University of Toronto Press
ISSN (Online):1911-0243

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record