In recent years, historians such as Christopher Hill, Keith Thomas, E.P. Thompson and Robert W. Malcolmson have explored the various sub-cultures of late-seventeenth-century life, and so have partially laid open the habits of thought of the prospective contemporary audience for Defoe’s fiction. The rediscovery of the richness and variety of eighteenth-century low life has very important consequences for the reading of its fiction. Moll Flanders first engages its readers in a Preface, wherein the ‘Editor’ offers a summary of the book, and tries to make it seem educative and grave. Defoe’s prefaces regularly perform this tactical function, and only very rarely offer a convincing description of the work in hand. The device of concealed identity is a necessary tactic in the genre of criminal fiction, as a procedure of authentication, and as a provisional guarantee of plausibility. Moll’s self-assurance and calculation increase rapidly after the first marriage, and become the motivating forces for her second wedding.