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  • Daniel Defoe
The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
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The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe is one of those books that we all know even if we have never read it. With his first work of fiction, Daniel Defoe–a businessman turned poet, journalist, and political propagandist–created a character who very quickly went on to have a life that went well beyond the pages of the book that first appeared, without build-up, fanfare, or even the author’s name on the title page, in April 1719. Robinson Crusoe was an immediate bestseller; the bookseller went through several editions in the first year alone. By August, Defoe had produced a sequel, The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, a work that he wrote quickly in part to head off the possibility that someone else might beat him to it. Over the last three hundred years, the story of a person isolated on a deserted island or something like it, has been used by dozens, maybe hundreds of writers, who have made it a genre of its own, the “Robinsoniad,” a genre that includes satirical parodies like Gulliver’s Travels, children’s books like The Swiss Family Robinson, Bugs Bunny cartoons, television situation comedies like Gilligan’s Island, and science fiction works like The Martian. Robinson Crusoe, the man and the book in which he first appeared, has become one of the foundational myths of the modern world.The story of one man’s survival has become so well known in all of these instances that it can be difficult to see through the mythology to analyze Defoe’s original book and to imagine what its first readers might have noticed and found so striking. It is important to recognize, for example, that the book is told in the first person, by a narrator who never lets on that this is a work of fiction. Defoe’s name, as noted above, did not appear on the title page of the first edition (although it quickly became clear to those in the know that he was the author), or even in any of the many editions issued in his lifetime. Although the book is famous for the many years that Crusoe spends on the island, it takes a while for him to get there, and his experiences both before and after his time there are worth paying attention to for the way that they frame the central experience. Defoe’s prose is sometimes clunky-he has a tendency to shape sentences and paragraphs that would never pass muster with a modern copyeditor–but it is also capable of great beauty and insight, and rewards careful attention.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
The Open Anthology of Literature in English
Author:
Daniel Defoe
Date Added:
07/10/2017
Robinson Crusoe
Conditions of Use:
Remix and Share
Rating

The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe is one of those books that we all know even if we have never read it. With his first work of fiction, Daniel Defoe–a businessman turned poet, journalist, and political propagandist–created a character who very quickly went on to have a life that went well beyond the pages of the book that first appeared, without build-up, fanfare, or even the author’s name on the title page, in April 1719. Robinson Crusoe was an immediate bestseller; the bookseller went through several editions in the first year alone. By August, Defoe had produced a sequel, The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, a work that he wrote quickly in part to head off the possibility that someone else might beat him to it. Over the last three hundred years, the story of a person isolated on a deserted island or something like it, has been used by dozens, maybe hundreds of writers, who have made it a genre of its own, the “Robinsoniad,” a genre that includes satirical parodies like Gulliver’s Travels, children’s books like The Swiss Family Robinson, Bugs Bunny cartoons, television situation comedies like Gilligan’s Island, and science fiction works like The Martian. Robinson Crusoe, the man and the book in which he first appeared, has become one of the foundational myths of the modern world.The story of one man’s survival has become so well known in all of these instances that it can be difficult to see through the mythology to analyze Defoe’s original book and to imagine what its first readers might have noticed and found so striking. It is important to recognize, for example, that the book is told in the first person, by a narrator who never lets on that this is a work of fiction. Defoe’s name, as noted above, did not appear on the title page of the first edition (although it quickly became clear to those in the know that he was the author), or even in any of the many editions issued in his lifetime. Although the book is famous for the many years that Crusoe spends on the island, it takes a while for him to get there, and his experiences both before and after his time there are worth paying attention to for the way that they frame the central experience. Defoe’s prose is sometimes clunky-he has a tendency to shape sentences and paragraphs that would never pass muster with a modern copyeditor–but it is also capable of great beauty and insight, and rewards careful attention.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
The Open Anthology of Literature in English
Author:
Daniel Defoe
Date Added:
07/10/2017