Christian culture 基督教文化学刊

Defoe’s Apparition Narrative and Divine Revelation

Author: WANG Xiaoxiong, Lecturer, School of Humanities, Hangzhou Dianzi University



By examining the trend of empiricism in 18th century Britain and Defoe’s theory of apparitions, this paper intends to interpret Defoe’s novels as a case of empirical pseudomorphosis. To Defoe, God and departed souls can not (re)appear among humans, and so apparitions are mostly the after-images of persons raised in the memory of living witnesses by angels or good spirits whose task is to deliver messages to people on earth. This theory of apparitions forms the basis for Defoe’s apparition narratives. He conceals the connotations of apparition narratives in an elevated empirical tone, indicating that fiction is to reveal divine revelation circuitously. This reflects the efforts of Christian writers to mediate between general revelation and special revelation and to seek a new way of defending Christianity in an age of reason.



Daniel Defoe; empirical writing; apparition narrative; pseudomorphosis


Full Text (International Version):

WANG XiaoxiongSCN JSCC.pdf


Full Text (Simplified Chinese Version): 

WANG XiaoxiongSCN JSCC.pdf