Robinson Crusoe
Overview
Robinson Crusoe ˌrɒbɪnsən ˈkruːsoʊ is a novel by Daniel Defoe
Daniel Defoe
Daniel Defoe , born Daniel Foe, was an English trader, writer, journalist, and pamphleteer, who gained fame for his novel Robinson Crusoe. Defoe is notable for being one of the earliest proponents of the novel, as he helped to popularise the form in Britain and along with others such as Richardson,...

 that was first published in 1719. Epistolary
Epistolary novel
An epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used. Recently, electronic "documents" such as recordings and radio, blogs, and e-mails have also come into use...

, confessional
Confessional writing
In literature, confessional writing is a first-person style that is often presented as an ongoing diary or letters, distinguished by revelations of a person's heart and darker motivations....

, and didactic
Didacticism
Didacticism is an artistic philosophy that emphasizes instructional and informative qualities in literature and other types of art. The term has its origin in the Ancient Greek word διδακτικός , "related to education/teaching." Originally, signifying learning in a fascinating and intriguing...

 in form, the book is a fictional autobiography of the title character—a castaway
Castaway
A castaway is a person who is cast adrift or ashore. While the situation usually happens after a shipwreck, some people voluntarily stay behind on a deserted island, either to evade their captors or the world in general. Alternatively, a person or item can be cast away, meaning rejected or discarded...

 who spends 28 years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad
Trinidad
Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. With an area of it is also the fifth largest in...

, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers before being rescued.

The story was perhaps influenced by Alexander Selkirk
Alexander Selkirk
Alexander Selkirk was a Scottish sailor who spent four years as a castaway when he was marooned on an uninhabited island. It is probable that his travels provided the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe....

, a Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 castaway who lived for four years on the Pacific island called "Más a Tierra" (in 1966 its name was changed to Robinson Crusoe Island
Robinson Crusoe Island
Robinson Crusoe Island , formerly known as Más a Tierra , or Aguas Buenas, is the largest island of the Chilean Juan Fernández archipelago, situated 674 kilometres west of South America in the South Pacific Ocean...

), Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

.
Encyclopedia
Robinson Crusoe ˌrɒbɪnsən ˈkruːsoʊ is a novel by Daniel Defoe
Daniel Defoe
Daniel Defoe , born Daniel Foe, was an English trader, writer, journalist, and pamphleteer, who gained fame for his novel Robinson Crusoe. Defoe is notable for being one of the earliest proponents of the novel, as he helped to popularise the form in Britain and along with others such as Richardson,...

 that was first published in 1719. Epistolary
Epistolary novel
An epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used. Recently, electronic "documents" such as recordings and radio, blogs, and e-mails have also come into use...

, confessional
Confessional writing
In literature, confessional writing is a first-person style that is often presented as an ongoing diary or letters, distinguished by revelations of a person's heart and darker motivations....

, and didactic
Didacticism
Didacticism is an artistic philosophy that emphasizes instructional and informative qualities in literature and other types of art. The term has its origin in the Ancient Greek word διδακτικός , "related to education/teaching." Originally, signifying learning in a fascinating and intriguing...

 in form, the book is a fictional autobiography of the title character—a castaway
Castaway
A castaway is a person who is cast adrift or ashore. While the situation usually happens after a shipwreck, some people voluntarily stay behind on a deserted island, either to evade their captors or the world in general. Alternatively, a person or item can be cast away, meaning rejected or discarded...

 who spends 28 years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad
Trinidad
Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. With an area of it is also the fifth largest in...

, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers before being rescued.

The story was perhaps influenced by Alexander Selkirk
Alexander Selkirk
Alexander Selkirk was a Scottish sailor who spent four years as a castaway when he was marooned on an uninhabited island. It is probable that his travels provided the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe....

, a Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 castaway who lived for four years on the Pacific island called "Más a Tierra" (in 1966 its name was changed to Robinson Crusoe Island
Robinson Crusoe Island
Robinson Crusoe Island , formerly known as Más a Tierra , or Aguas Buenas, is the largest island of the Chilean Juan Fernández archipelago, situated 674 kilometres west of South America in the South Pacific Ocean...

), Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

. The details of Crusoe's island were probably based on the Caribbean
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

 island of Tobago
Tobago
Tobago is the smaller of the two main islands that make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It is located in the southern Caribbean, northeast of the island of Trinidad and southeast of Grenada. The island lies outside the hurricane belt...

, since that island lies a short distance north of the Venezuelan coast near the mouth of the Orinoco
Orinoco
The Orinoco is one of the longest rivers in South America at . Its drainage basin, sometimes called the Orinoquia, covers , with 76.3% of it in Venezuela and the remainder in Colombia...

 river, in sight of Trinidad
Trinidad
Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. With an area of it is also the fifth largest in...

. It is also likely that Defoe was inspired by the Latin or English translations of Ibn Tufail
Ibn Tufail
Ibn Tufail was an Andalusian Muslim polymath: an Arabic writer, novelist, Islamic philosopher, Islamic theologian, physician, vizier,...

's Hayy ibn Yaqdhan
Hayy ibn Yaqdhan
Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān is an Arabic philosophical novel and allegorical tale written by Ibn Tufail in the early 12th century.- Translations :* from Wikisource* English translations of Hayy bin Yaqzan...

, an earlier novel also set on a desert island
Desert island
A desert island or uninhabited island is an island that has yet to be populated by humans. Uninhabited islands are often used in movies or stories about shipwrecked people, and are also used as stereotypes for the idea of "paradise". Some uninhabited islands are protected as nature reserves and...

. Another source for Defoe's novel may have been Robert Knox
Robert Knox (sailor)
Robert Knox was an English sea captain in the service of the British East India Company. He was the son of another sea captain, also called Robert Knox....

's account of his abduction by the King of Ceylon
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 in 1659 in "An Historical Account of the Island Ceylon," Glasgow: James MacLehose and Sons (Publishers to the University), 1911. Although inspired by a real life event, it was the first notable work of literature where the story was independent of mythology, history, legends, or previous literature.

Full title

Although commonly referred to as simply Robinson Crusoe the book’s complete, original title as it appears on the title page of the first edition is The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un‐inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pirates.

Plot summary

Crusoe (the family name corrupted from the German name "Kreutznaer") sets sail from the Queen's Dock
Queen's Gardens, Hull
Queen's Gardens is a sequence of gardens in the centre of Kingston upon Hull, England. They are set out within a area that until 1930 was filled with the waters of Queen's Dock...

 in Hull
Kingston upon Hull
Kingston upon Hull , usually referred to as Hull, is a city and unitary authority area in the ceremonial county of the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It stands on the River Hull at its junction with the Humber estuary, 25 miles inland from the North Sea. Hull has a resident population of...

 on a sea voyage in August 1651, against the wishes of his parents, who want him to stay at home and pursue a career, possibly in law. After a tumultuous journey that sees his ship wrecked in a storm, his lust for the sea remains so strong that he sets out to sea again. This journey too ends in disaster as the ship is taken over by Salé
Salé
Salé is a city in north-western Morocco, on the right bank of the Bou Regreg river, opposite the national capital Rabat, for which it serves as a commuter town...

 pirates (the Salé Rovers
Salè Rovers
The Salé Rovers, also Sale Rovers or Salle Rovers, were a dreaded band of Barbary corsairs who eventually formed the Republic of Salé on the Moroccan coast. The most famous of the rovers was Jan Janszoon....

) and Crusoe becomes the slave of a Moor
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

. After two years of slavery, he manages to escape in a boat with a boy named Xury; later, Crusoe is rescued and befriended by the Captain of a Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 ship off the west coast of Africa. The ship is en route to Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

. There, with the help of the captain, Crusoe becomes owner of a plantation
Plantation
A plantation is a long artificially established forest, farm or estate, where crops are grown for sale, often in distant markets rather than for local on-site consumption...

.

Years later, he joins an expedition to bring slaves from Africa
Atlantic slave trade
The Atlantic slave trade, also known as the trans-atlantic slave trade, refers to the trade in slaves that took place across the Atlantic ocean from the sixteenth through to the nineteenth centuries...

 but he is shipwrecked in a storm about forty miles out to sea on an island (which he calls the Island of Despair) near the mouth of the Orinoco
Orinoco
The Orinoco is one of the longest rivers in South America at . Its drainage basin, sometimes called the Orinoquia, covers , with 76.3% of it in Venezuela and the remainder in Colombia...

 river on September 30, 1659. His companions all die, save himself, and three animals who survived the shipwreck, the captain's dog and two cats. Having overcome his despair, he fetches arms, tools and other supplies from the ship before it breaks apart and sinks. He proceeds to build a fenced-in habitation near a cave which he excavates himself. He keeps a calendar by making marks in a wooden cross which he has built. He hunts, grows barley and rice, dries grapes to make raisins for the winter months, learns to make pottery and raises goats, all using tools salvaged from his ship, as well as created from stone and wood which he harvests on the island. He also adopts a small parrot. He reads the Bible and becomes religious, thanking God for his fate in which nothing is missing but human society.

Years later, he discovers native cannibals
Cannibalism
Cannibalism is the act or practice of humans eating the flesh of other human beings. It is also called anthropophagy...

 who occasionally visit the island to kill and eat prisoners. At first he plans to kill them for committing an abomination but later realises that he has no right to do so as the cannibals do not knowingly commit a crime. He dreams of obtaining one or two servants by freeing some prisoners; when a prisoner manages to escape, Crusoe helps him, naming his new companion "Friday"
Man Friday
Friday is one of the main characters of Daniel Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe. Robinson Crusoe names the man, with whom he cannot at first communicate, Friday because they first meet on that day...

 after the day of the week he appeared. Crusoe then teaches him English and converts him to Christianity.

After another party of natives arrives to partake in a cannibal feast, Crusoe and Friday manage to kill most of the natives and save two of the prisoners. One is Friday's father and the other is a Spaniard, who informs Crusoe that there are other Spaniards shipwrecked on the mainland. A plan is devised wherein the Spaniard would return with Friday's father to the mainland and bring back the others, build a ship and sail to a Spanish port.

Before the Spaniards return, an English ship appears; mutineers have taken control of the ship and intend to maroon their former captain on the island. Crusoe and the ship's captain strike a deal in which he helps the captain and the loyal sailors retake the ship from the mutineers, whereupon they intend to leave the worst of the mutineers on the island. Before they leave for England, Crusoe shows the former mutineers how he lived on the island and states that there will be more men coming. Crusoe leaves the island 19 December 1686 and arrives in England on 11 June 1687. He learns that his family believed him dead and there was nothing in his father's will for him. Crusoe departs for Lisbon to reclaim the profits of his estate in Brazil, which has granted him a large amount of wealth. In conclusion, he takes his wealth overland to England to avoid travelling at sea. Friday comes with him and along the way they endure one last adventure together as they fight off hundreds of famished wolves while crossing the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

.

Reception and sequels

The book was published on 25 April 1719. Before the end of the year, this first volume had run through four editions.

By the end of the 19th century, no book in the history of Western literature
Western literature
Western literature refers to the literature written in the languages of Europe, including the ones belonging to the Indo-European language family as well as several geographically or historically related languages such as Basque, Hungarian, and so forth...

 had more editions, spin-offs and translations (even into languages such as Inuktituk, Coptic
Coptic language
Coptic or Coptic Egyptian is the current stage of the Egyptian language, a northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the 17th century. Egyptian began to be written using the Greek alphabet in the 1st century...

 and Maltese
Maltese language
Maltese is the national language of Malta, and a co-official language of the country alongside English,while also serving as an official language of the European Union, the only Semitic language so distinguished. Maltese is descended from Siculo-Arabic...

) than Robinson Crusoe, with more than 700 such alternative versions, including children's versions with mainly pictures and no text.

The term "Robinsonade
Robinsonade
Robinsonade is a literary genre that takes its name from the 1719 novel Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. The success of this novel spawned enough imitations that its name was used to define a genre, which is sometimes described simply as a "desert island story"...

" was coined to describe the genre of stories similar to Robinson Crusoe.

Defoe went on to write a lesser-known sequel, The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. It was intended to be the last part of his stories, according to the original title-page of its first edition but a third part, Serious Reflections During the Life & Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, With His Vision of the Angelic World, was added later; it is a mostly forgotten series of moral essays with Crusoe's name attached to give interest.

Real-life castaways

There were many stories of real-life castaways in Defoe's time. Defoe's initial inspiration for Crusoe is usually thought to be a Scottish sailor named Alexander Selkirk
Alexander Selkirk
Alexander Selkirk was a Scottish sailor who spent four years as a castaway when he was marooned on an uninhabited island. It is probable that his travels provided the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe....

, who was rescued in 1709 by Woodes Rogers
Woodes Rogers
Woodes Rogers was an English sea captain, privateer, and, later, the first Royal Governor of the Bahamas. He is known as the captain of the vessel that rescued the marooned Alexander Selkirk, whose plight is generally believed to have inspired Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe.Rogers came from an...

' expedition after four years on the uninhabited island of Más a Tierra
Robinson Crusoe Island
Robinson Crusoe Island , formerly known as Más a Tierra , or Aguas Buenas, is the largest island of the Chilean Juan Fernández archipelago, situated 674 kilometres west of South America in the South Pacific Ocean...

 in the Juan Fernández Islands
Juan Fernández Islands
The Juan Fernández Islands are a sparsely inhabited island group reliant on tourism and fishing in the South Pacific Ocean, situated about off the coast of Chile, and is composed of three main volcanic islands; Robinson Crusoe Island, Alejandro Selkirk Island and Santa Clara Island, the first...

 off the Chilean coast
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

. Rogers' "Cruising Voyage" was published in 1712, with an account of Alexander Selkirk's ordeal. However, Robinson Crusoe is far from a copy of Woodes Rogers' account: Selkirk was marooned at his own request, while Crusoe was shipwrecked; the islands are different; Selkirk lived alone for the whole time, while Crusoe found companions; while Selkirk stayed on his island for four years, not twenty-eight. Furthermore, much of the appeal of Defoe's novel is the detailed and captivating account of Crusoe's thoughts, occupations and activities which goes far beyond that of Rogers' basic descriptions of Selkirk, which account for only a few pages.

Tim Severin
Tim Severin
Tim Severin is a British explorer, historian and writer. Severin is noted for his work in retracing the legendary journeys of historical figures. Severin was awarded both the Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society and the Livingstone Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society...

's book Seeking Robinson Crusoe (2002) unravels a much wider and more plausible range of potential sources of inspiration, and concludes by identifying castaway surgeon Henry Pitman as the most likely. An employee of the Duke of Monmouth, Pitman played a part in the Monmouth Rebellion
Monmouth Rebellion
The Monmouth Rebellion,The Revolt of the West or The West Country rebellion of 1685, was an attempt to overthrow James II, who had become King of England, King of Scots and King of Ireland at the death of his elder brother Charles II on 6 February 1685. James II was a Roman Catholic, and some...

. His short book about his desperate escape from a Caribbean penal colony, followed by his shipwrecking and subsequent desert island misadventures, was published by J. Taylor of Paternoster Row, London, whose son William Taylor later published Defoe's novel. Severin argues that since Pitman appears to have lived in the lodgings above the father's publishing house and that Defoe himself was a mercer in the area at the time, Defoe may have met Pitman in person and learned of his experiences first-hand, or possibly through submission of a draft.

Severin also discusses another publicised case of a marooned man named only as Will
Will (Indian)
Will was an Indian of the Misquito tribe from what is now Honduras or Nicaragua. In history, he is known for having stayed as a castaway on uninhabited Robinson Crusoe Island, the largest of the archipelago of the Juan Fernández Islands, for more than three years...

, of the Miskito
Miskito
The Miskitos are a Native American ethnic group in Central America. A substantial number of them are mixed race, especially those in the northern end of their territory, where an African-Indigenous mixture was predominant. Their territory extends from Cape Camarón, Honduras, to Rio Grande,...

 people of Central America, who may have led to the depiction of Man Friday
Man Friday
Friday is one of the main characters of Daniel Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe. Robinson Crusoe names the man, with whom he cannot at first communicate, Friday because they first meet on that day...

.

Interpretations

Despite its simple narrative style, it was received well in the literary world. The book is one of the most widely published books in history. It has been popular since the day it was published.

Colonial

Novelist James Joyce
James Joyce
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century...

 noted that the true symbol of the British conquest
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 is Robinson Crusoe: "He is the true prototype of the British colonist. … The whole Anglo-Saxon spirit is in Crusoe: the manly independence, the unconscious cruelty, the persistence, the slow yet efficient intelligence, the sexual apathy, the calculating taciturnity."

In a sense Crusoe attempts to replicate his society on the island. This is achieved through the use of European technology, agriculture and even a rudimentary political hierarchy. Several times in the novel Crusoe refers to himself as the 'king' of the island, whilst the captain describes him as the 'governor' to the mutineers. At the very end of the novel the island is explicitly referred to as a 'colony'. The idealised master-servant relationship Defoe depicts between Crusoe and Friday can also be seen in terms of cultural imperialism
Cultural imperialism
Cultural imperialism is the domination of one culture over another. Cultural imperialism can take the form of a general attitude or an active, formal and deliberate policy, including military action. Economic or technological factors may also play a role...

. Crusoe represents the 'enlightened' European whilst Friday is the 'savage' who can only be redeemed from his barbarous way of life through assimilation into Crusoe's culture. Nonetheless Defoe also takes the opportunity to criticise the historic Spanish conquest of South America.

Religious

According to J.P. Hunter, Robinson is not a hero but an everyman
Everyman
In literature and drama, the term everyman has come to mean an ordinary individual, with whom the audience or reader is supposed to be able to identify easily, and who is often placed in extraordinary circumstances...

. He begins as a wanderer, aimless on a sea he does not understand and ends as a pilgrim
Pilgrim
A pilgrim is a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journeying to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system...

, crossing a final mountain to enter the promised land
Promised land
The Promised Land is a term used to describe the land promised or given by God, according to the Hebrew Bible, to the Israelites, the descendants of Jacob. The promise is firstly made to Abraham and then renewed to his son Isaac, and to Isaac's son Jacob , Abraham's grandson...

. The book tells the story of how Robinson becomes closer to God, not through listening to sermon
Sermon
A sermon is an oration by a prophet or member of the clergy. Sermons address a Biblical, theological, religious, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief, law or behavior within both past and present contexts...

s in a church but through spending time alone amongst nature
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

 with only a Bible to read.

Robinson Crusoe is filled with religious aspects. Defoe was a Puritan
Puritan
The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England...

 moralist and normally worked in the guide tradition, writing books on how to be a good Puritan Christian, such as The New Family Instructor (1727) and Religious Courtship (1722). While Robinson Crusoe is far more than a guide, it shares many of the theme JESTEM HARDKOREM theological and moral points of view. "Crusoe" may have been taken from Timothy Cruso, a classmate of Defoe's who had written guide books, including God the Guide of Youth (1695), before dying at an early age – just eight years before Defoe wrote Robinson Crusoe. Cruso would have been remembered by contemporaries and the association with guide books is clear. It has even been speculated that God the Guide of Youth inspired Robinson Crusoe because of a number of passages in that work that are closely tied to the novel.

The Biblical story of Jonah
Jonah
Jonah is the name given in the Hebrew Bible to a prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel in about the 8th century BC, the eponymous central character in the Book of Jonah, famous for being swallowed by a fish or a whale, depending on translation...

 is alluded to in the first part of the novel. Like Jonah, Crusoe neglects his 'duty' and is punished at sea.

A leitmotif of the novel is the Christian notion of Providence
Divine Providence
In Christian theology, divine providence, or simply providence, is God's activity in the world. " Providence" is also used as a title of God exercising His providence, and then the word are usually capitalized...

. Crusoe often feels guided by a divinely ordained fate, thus explaining his robust optimism in the face of apparent hopelessness. His various fortunate intuitions are taken as evidence of a benign spirit world. Defoe also foregrounds this theme by arranging highly significant events in the novel to occur on Crusoe's birthday.

Moral

When confronted with the cannibals, Crusoe wrestles with the problem of cultural relativism
Cultural relativism
Cultural relativism is the principle that an individual human's beliefs and activities should be understood by others in terms of that individual's own culture. This principle was established as axiomatic in anthropological research by Franz Boas in the first few decades of the 20th century and...

. Despite his disgust, he feels unjustified in holding the natives morally responsible for a practice so deeply ingrained in their culture. Nevertheless he retains his belief in an absolute standard of morality; he regards cannibalism as a 'national crime' and forbids Friday from practicing it.

Economic

In classical
Classical economics
Classical economics is widely regarded as the first modern school of economic thought. Its major developers include Adam Smith, Jean-Baptiste Say, David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus and John Stuart Mill....

, neoclassical
Neoclassical economics
Neoclassical economics is a term variously used for approaches to economics focusing on the determination of prices, outputs, and income distributions in markets through supply and demand, often mediated through a hypothesized maximization of utility by income-constrained individuals and of profits...

 and Austrian economics, Crusoe is regularly used to illustrate the theory of production and choice in the absence of trade, money and prices. Crusoe must allocate effort between production and leisure and must choose between alternative production possibilities to meet his needs. The arrival of Friday is then used to illustrate the possibility of and gains from trade.

The classical treatment of the Crusoe economy has been discussed and criticised from a variety of perspectives.

Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

 analysed Crusoe in his classic work Capital
Das Kapital
Das Kapital, Kritik der politischen Ökonomie , by Karl Marx, is a critical analysis of capitalism as political economy, meant to reveal the economic laws of the capitalist mode of production, and how it was the precursor of the socialist mode of production.- Themes :In Capital: Critique of...

, mocking the heavy use in classical economics of the fictional story. In Marxist terms, Crusoe's experiences on the island represents the inherent economic value of labour over capital. Crusoe frequently observes that the money he salvaged from the ship is worthless on the island, especially when compared to his tools.

For the literary critic Angus Ross
Angus Ross
Angus Ross is a retired Scottish professional darts player who competed in the 1980s.He competed in the 1981 BDO World Darts Championship, losing in the first round to John Lowe...

, Defoe's point is that money has no intrinsic value and is only valuable insofar as it can be used in trade. There is also a notable correlation between Crusoe's spiritual and financial development, possibly signifying Defoe's belief in the Protestant work ethic
Protestant work ethic
The Protestant work ethic is a concept in sociology, economics and history, attributable to the work of Max Weber...

.

The Crusoe model has also been assessed from the perspectives of feminism.

Legacy

The book proved so popular that the names of the two main protagonists have entered the language. During the World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, people who decided to stay and hide in the ruins of the German-occupied city
Planned destruction of Warsaw
The planned destruction of Warsaw refers to the largely realised plans by Nazi Germany to completely raze the city. The plan was put into full motion after the Warsaw Uprising in 1944...

 of Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

 for a period of three winter months, from October to January 1945, when they were rescued by the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

, were later called Robinson Crusoes of Warsaw
Robinson Crusoes of Warsaw
Robinson Crusoes of Warsaw were people who, after the end of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising and the subsequent planned destruction of Warsaw by Nazi Germany, decided to stay and hide in the ruins of the German-occupied city...

. Robinson Crusoe usually referred to his servant as "my man Friday", from which the term "Man Friday
Man Friday
Friday is one of the main characters of Daniel Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe. Robinson Crusoe names the man, with whom he cannot at first communicate, Friday because they first meet on that day...

" (or "Girl Friday") originated. The term was used in Gregory La Cava's film "My Man Godfrey
My Man Godfrey
My Man Godfrey is a 1936 American screwball comedy film directed by Gregory La Cava. The screenplay was written by Morrie Ryskind, with uncredited contributions by La Cava, based on "1101 Park Avenue", a short story by Eric Hatch. The story concerns a socialite who hires a derelict to be her...

", in which a rich socialite falls in love with her butler who had been a castaway because of the Great Depression. This has also been used in a Popeye cartoon called 'Island Fling' and a movie called 'His Girl Friday
His Girl Friday
His Girl Friday is a 1940 American screwball comedy film directed by Howard Hawks, an adaptation by Charles Lederer, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur of the play The Front Page by Hecht and MacArthur...

'. The city of Harrisburg
Harrisburg, Illinois
Harrisburg is a city and township in Saline County, Illinois, United States. It is located about southwest of Evansville, Indiana, southeast of St. Louis, Missouri. The 2010 population was 9,017, with a township population of 10,790. It is the county seat of Saline County...

, Illinois was named in colonial days "Crusoe's Island" well before its settling in 1847 due to its location on a hill surrounded by swamp.

Literature

Robinson Crusoe marked the beginning of realistic fiction as a literary genre
.
Its success led to many imitators and castaway novels became quite popular in Europe in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Most of these have fallen into obscurity but some became established including The Swiss Family Robinson
The Swiss Family Robinson
-History:Written by Swiss pastor Johann David Wyss and edited by his son Johann Rudolf Wyss, the novel was intended to teach his four sons about family values, good husbandry, the uses of the natural world and self-reliance...

.

Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift was an Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer , poet and cleric who became Dean of St...

's Gulliver's Travels
Gulliver's Travels
Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships, better known simply as Gulliver's Travels , is a novel by Anglo-Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of...

, published seven years after Robinson Crusoe, may be read as a systematic rebuttal of Defoe's optimistic account of human capability. In The Unthinkable Swift: The Spontaneous Philosophy of a Church of England Man Warren Montag
Warren Montag
Warren Montag is a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. He is known primarily for his work on twentieth century French theory, especially Althusser and his circle, as well as his studies of the philosopher Spinoza.-Overview:Montag's...

 argues that Swift was concerned to refute the notion that the individual precedes society, as Defoe's novel seems to suggest. Swift regarded such thought as a dangerous endorsement of Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury , in some older texts Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury, was an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy...

' radical political philosophy and for this reason Gulliver repeatedly encounters established societies rather than desolate islands. The captain who invites Gulliver to serve as a surgeon aboard his ship on the disastrous third voyage is named Robinson.

In Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of 18th-century Romanticism. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought.His novel Émile: or, On Education is a treatise...

's treatise on education, Emile: Or, On Education
Emile: Or, On Education
Émile, or On Education is a treatise on the nature of education and on the nature of man written by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who considered it to be the “best and most important of all my writings”. Due to a section of the book entitled “Profession of Faith of the Savoyard Vicar,” Émile was be...

, the one book Emile the protagonist is allowed to read before the age of twelve is Robinson Crusoe. Rousseau wants Emile to identify himself as Crusoe so he could rely upon himself for all of his needs. In Rousseau's view, Emile needs to imitate Crusoe's experience, allowing necessity to determine what is to be learned and accomplished. This is one of the main themes of Rousseau's educational model.
In The Tale of Little Pig Robinson
The Tale of Little Pig Robinson
The Tale of Little Pig Robinson is a children's book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter and first published simultaneously in Britain by Frederick Warne & Co. and in America by David McKay Company in September 1930. The tale is the story of the pig in Edward Lear's "The Owl and the...

, Beatrix Potter
Beatrix Potter
Helen Beatrix Potter was an English author, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist best known for her imaginative children’s books featuring animals such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit which celebrated the British landscape and country life.Born into a privileged Unitarian...

 directs the reader to Robinson Crusoe for a detailed description of the island (the land of the Bong tree) to which her eponymous hero moves. She describes the land of the Bong tree as being similar to Robinson Crusoe's, "only without its drawbacks."

In Wilkie Collins
Wilkie Collins
William Wilkie Collins was an English novelist, playwright, and author of short stories. He was very popular during the Victorian era and wrote 30 novels, more than 60 short stories, 14 plays, and over 100 non-fiction pieces...

's most popular novel, The Moonstone
The Moonstone
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins is a 19th-century British epistolary novel, generally considered the first detective novel in the English language. The story was originally serialized in Charles Dickens' magazine All the Year Round. The Moonstone and The Woman in White are considered Wilkie...

, one of the chief characters and narrators, Gabriel Betteredge has faith in all that Robinson Crusoe says and uses the book for a sort of divination. He considers The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe the finest book ever written and considers a man but poorly read if he had happened not to read the book.

In Kenneth Gardner's award winning 2002 novel Rich Man's Coffin, he portrays the true story of a black American slave who escapes on a whaling ship to New Zealand to become chief of one of the cannibal Maori tribes. This is a reversal of racial roles, with the black man taking the lead role of the Robinson Crusoe figure.

French novelist Michel Tournier
Michel Tournier
Michel Tournier is a French writer.His works are highly considered and have won important awards such as the Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française in 1967 for Friday, or, The Other Island and the Prix Goncourt for The Erl-King in 1970...

 wrote Friday (French Vendredi ou les Limbes du Pacifique) published in 1967. His novel explores themes including civilisation versus nature, the psychology of solitude as well as death and sexuality in a retelling of Defoe's Robinson Crusoe story. Tournier's Robinson chooses to remain on the island, rejecting civilisation when offered the chance to escape 28 years after being shipwrecked.

"Crusoe in England," a 183-line poem by Elizabeth Bishop
Elizabeth Bishop
Elizabeth Bishop was an American poet and short-story writer. She was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 1949 to 1950, a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1956 and a National Book Award Winner for Poetry in 1970. Elizabeth Bishop House is an artists' retreat in Great Village, Nova Scotia...

, imagines Crusoe near the end of his life, recalling his time of exile with a mixture of bemusement and regret. No longer a cultural supremacist, Crusoe remembers Friday, who has since died, with deep nostalgia and affection.

J. M. Coetzee's 1986 novel Foe
Foe (novel)
Foe is a 1986 novel by South African author J. M. Coetzee. Woven around the existing plot of Robinson Crusoe, Foe is written from the perspective of Susan Barton, a castaway who landed on the same island inhabited by "Cruso" and Friday as their adventures were already underway...

recounts the tale of Robinson Crusoe from the aspect of Susan Barton who went on to star in another of DeFoe's novels. In this novel Crusoe is depicted as a much less motivated man and Friday as a mute.

Stage and Film

Jacques Offenbach
Jacques Offenbach
Jacques Offenbach was a Prussian-born French composer, cellist and impresario. He is remembered for his nearly 100 operettas of the 1850s–1870s and his uncompleted opera The Tales of Hoffmann. He was a powerful influence on later composers of the operetta genre, particularly Johann Strauss, Jr....

 wrote an opéra comique
Opéra comique
Opéra comique is a genre of French opera that contains spoken dialogue and arias. It emerged out of the popular opéra comiques en vaudevilles of the Fair Theatres of St Germain and St Laurent , which combined existing popular tunes with spoken sections...

 called Robinson Crusoé
Robinson Crusoé
Robinson Crusoé is an opéra comique, or operetta, by Jacques Offenbach.The French libretto was written by Eugène Cormon and Hector-Jonathan Crémieux, which was loosely adapted from the novel Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, though the work owes more to British pantomime than to the book...

which was first performed at the Opéra-Comique
Opéra-Comique
The Opéra-Comique is a Parisian opera company, which was founded around 1714 by some of the popular theatres of the Parisian fairs. In 1762 the company was merged with, and for a time took the name of its chief rival the Comédie-Italienne at the Hôtel de Bourgogne, and was also called the...

, Salle Favart on 23 November 1867. This was based on the British pantomime version rather than the novel itself. The libretto was by Eugène Cormon and Hector-Jonathan Crémieux
Hector-Jonathan Crémieux
Hector-Jonathan Crémieux was a French librettist and playwright. His best-known work is his collaboration with Ludovic Halévy for Jacques Offenbach's Orphée aux Enfers, known in English as Orpheus in the Underworld....

. The opera includes a duet by Robinson Crusoe and Friday.

A 1927 silent film Robinson Crusoe
Robinson Crusoe (1927 film)
- Cast :*M.A. Wetherell as Robinson Crusoe*Fay Compton as Sophie*Herbert Waithe as Friday*Reginald Fox...

.

Luis Buñuel
Luis Buñuel
Luis Buñuel Portolés was a Spanish-born filmmaker — later a naturalized citizen of Mexico — who worked in Spain, Mexico, France and the US..-Early years:...

 directed Adventures of Robinson Crusoe starring Dan O'Herlihy
Dan O'Herlihy
Daniel O'Herlihy was an Oscar nominated Irish film actor.-Early life:O'Herlihy was born in Wexford, Ireland in 1919. His family moved to Dublin at a young age...

, released in 1954.

The 1964 film Robinson Crusoe on Mars
Robinson Crusoe on Mars
Robinson Crusoe on Mars is a 1964 Techniscope science fiction film retelling of the classic novel by Daniel Defoe. It was directed by Byron Haskin, produced by Aubrey Schenck and starred Paul Mantee, Victor Lundin and Adam West...

starred Paul Mantee
Paul Mantee
Paul Mantee is an American film and television actor.Mantee was born Paul Marianetti in San Francisco, California...

 in a science fiction retelling of the story, with "Crusoe" (actually named Colonel Dan McReady) as an astronaut stranded on Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

.

Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist, well-known for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. Along with his brother Roy O...

 later modernised the novel into a movie called Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N.
Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N.
Lt. Robin Crusoe USN is a 1966 comedy film released and scripted by Walt Disney. The film stars Dick Van Dyke as a U.S. Navy pilot who becomes a castaway on a tropical island. It was shot in San Diego....

starring Dick Van Dyke
Dick Van Dyke
Richard Wayne "Dick" Van Dyke is an American actor, comedian, writer, and producer with a career spanning six decades. He is the older brother of Jerry Van Dyke, and father of Barry Van Dyke...

.

In 1988, Aidan Quinn
Aidan Quinn
-Early life:Quinn was born in Chicago, Illinois to Irish parents. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic and raised in Chicago and Rockford, Illinois, as well as in Dublin and Birr, County Offaly in Ireland. His mother, Teresa, was a homemaker, and his father, Michael Quinn, was a professor of...

 portrayed Robinson Crusoe in the film Crusoe.

A 1997 movie entitled Robinson Crusoe starred Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brendan Brosnan, OBE is an Irish actor, film producer and environmentalist. After leaving school at 16, Brosnan began training in commercial illustration, but trained at the Drama Centre in London for three years...

 and received limited commercial success

Television

In 1964 a French film production crew made a 13 part serial of "The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (TV series)
The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe was a French children's television drama series made by Franco London Films . The show was first aired in Germany in October 1964 under the title Robinson Crusoe as four 90 minute episodes by co-producers ZDF television, and syndicated in the USA the same year...

". It starred Robert Hoffman
Robert Hoffmann
Robert Hoffmann is an Austrian actor best known for his title role performance in The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe , his debut....

. The black and white series was dubbed into English and German. In the UK, the BBC aired it on numerous occasions between 1965 and 1977.

In the mid-1990s there was a humorous French cartoon called Robinson Sucroe
Robinson Sucroe
Robinson Sucroe is a 1994 animated series. It was created by France Animation in France and Cinar in Canada, illegally plagiarized from Claude Robinson's work Les aventures de Robinson Curiosité. The show was a loose adaption of Robinson Crusoe set with a Looney Tunes twist...

. In the cartoon, Robinson was a failed journalist for the New York Herald
New York Herald
The New York Herald was a large distribution newspaper based in New York City that existed between May 6, 1835, and 1924.-History:The first issue of the paper was published by James Gordon Bennett, Sr., on May 6, 1835. By 1845 it was the most popular and profitable daily newspaper in the UnitedStates...

. Seeking a life of adventure, he desired to settle on an island and wished to write his weekly journal. After getting an okay from his boss, he sets sail and he is left on an uninhabited island (or so he thought). Robinson discovers that the island is inhabited by French and British pirates as well as the survivor of a shipwreck, who called themselves "Touléjours" (the Everydays). Robinson befriend a fellow named Mercredi (Wednesday). Robinson tries to write a colourful journal but he is incapable of doing so, instead Mercredi writes fictitious stories for him. These stories achieve much success and few suspect their authenticity.

The 2003 French TV movie starred Pierre Richard
Pierre Richard
Pierre Richard is a popular French actor best known for the roles of a clumsy daydreamer in comedy films...

 as Robinson.

In 2008, a television series titled Crusoe
Crusoe (TV series)
Crusoe is a television adventure drama based loosely on the novel Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. The series' 13 episodes aired on NBC during the first half of the 2008-2009 television season. It follows the adventures of Robinson Crusoe: a man who has been shipwrecked on an island for six years...

 aired for 12 episodes. It was based loosely on the novel and was not renewed for a second season.

Editions

  • Robinson Crusoe, Oneworld Classics 2008. ISBN 978-1-94749-012-4
  • Robinson Crusoe, Penguin Classics 2003. ISBN 978-0-14-143982-2
  • Robinson Crusoe, Oxford World's Classics 2007. ISBN 978-0-19-283342-6

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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