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The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe…

The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719)

by Daniel Defoe

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 341 mentions

English (157)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (4)  French (3)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  Finnish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (174)
Showing 1-5 of 157 (next | show all)
Robinson Crusoe shipwrecked on his island, the footprint in the sand, and his "Man" Friday are part of the shared culture of English speakers and beyond. The book is interesting for other reasons: it has been called the first English novel, and it paints an image of the life and times.

I found the book was a little different from the shared mental image. For example, the footprint on the sand was three years before Crusoe encountered Friday. The relations between races and the cultural assumptions are, three centuries on, a little confronting.

I also found the lack of editing amusing - there was limited experience in this type of writing, and Defoe gets bogged down at times, repeats himself, clarifies things already described to fit plot needs later in the story etc. But there is no doubt he could tell a tale, and the book has been popular from the time of its original publication.

Worth reading. (March 2014) ( )
  mbmackay | Apr 1, 2014 |
For Christmas, I ordered an mp3 player (Library of Classics) that was pre-loaded with 100 works of classic literature in an audio format. Each work is in the public domain and is read by amateurs, so the quality of the presentation is hit or miss. This was the third novel I’ve completed (the first two being A Tale of Two Cities and Around the World in 80 Days) and like the first two, the reader did not detract from the experience, and was in fact quite good.

Robinson Crusoe was written in the 17th century by Daniel DeFoe and is one of the oldest novels written in the English language. Despite this, it is not difficult to read (or listen to) in the least. While there are a few affectations and instances of unfamiliar “period” language and references, I never found this to be a problem.

The story is well known; an English mariner becomes shipwrecked and stranded on a desert island for many years, ultimately joined by his man Friday (a local native). The novel however, begins far sooner and spends some time detailing Crusoe’s early life and adventures. A good 75% of the story, however, takes place on the island, located off the coast of South America near the mouth of the Orinoco River.

Luckily, Crusoe is not completely without provisions or means of survival and the “eight and twenty” years he spends on the island are filled with his ingenuity and seemingly never ending industry in making his abode not only livable but comfortably so.

This is very much a period piece with religion playing a not insignificant role, though not overbearingly so. It is, more than anything, quite entertaining and even enlightening. I must confess being somewhat pleasantly surprised that such an old work played so well in current times. ( )
  santhony | Mar 19, 2014 |
Published in 1719 and certainly a classic adventure story, but its inconsistencies don’t stand up to much scrutiny, and it isn’t particularly well written. The main inspiration for the tale was the true story of Alexander Selkirk, who had been left for four years on an uninhabited island after arguing with his captain, then rescued, and his story told in 1712. Defoe expanded on this of course, among other things stranding Crusoe for 28 years, and having him meet ‘Friday’, an aboriginal who he then (ugh) made a servant and converted to the ‘True God’. Friday is not treated as a person, he’s more like other ‘material’ Crusoe finds, but this was par for the course at this time in history.

Aside from the adventure story, Defoe was exploring man’s nature and his reaction to adversity, topics larger than the story itself. In one scene, Crusoe lists ‘evil’ aspects to his condition (‘I am cast upon a horrible desolate island, void of all hope of recovery’), and corresponding good aspects (‘But I am alive, and not drown’d as all my ship’s company was’). I don’t think there was anything particularly insightful here, though the struggle for survival and events like finding the footprint are iconic and lasting images.

On accepting fate:
“I learned to look more upon the bright side of my condition, and less upon the dark side, and to consider what I enjoyed, rather than what I wanted; and this gave me sometimes such secret comforts, that I cannot express them; and which I take notice of here, to put those discontented people in mind of it, who cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them; because they see and covet something that He has not given them. All our discontents about what we want appeared to me to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have.”

“These reflections made me very sensible of the goodness of Providence to me, and very thankful for my present condition, with all its hardships and misfortunes; and this part also I cannot but recommend to the reflection of those who are apt in their misery to say, “Is there any affliction like mine!” Let them consider how much worse the cases of some people are, and their case might have been, if Providence had thought fit.”

On money:
“He told me that it was for men of desperate fortunes on one hand, or of aspiring, superior fortune on the other, who went abroad upon adventures, to rise by enterprise, and make themselves famous in undertakings of a nature out of the common road; that these things were all either too far above me, or too far below me; that mine was the middle state, or what might be called the upper station of low life, which he had found by long experience was the best state in the world, the most suited to human happiness, not exposed to the miseries and hardships, the labor and sufferings of the mechanic part of mankind, and not embarrassed with the pride, luxury, ambition, and envy of the upper part of mankind.”

On religion:
“I had rather be delivered up to the savages, and be devoured alive, than fall into the merciless claws of the priests, and be carried into the Inquisition.”

On youth:
“...how incongruous and irrational the common temper of mankind is, especially of youth, to that reason which ought to guide them in such cases, viz. that they are not ashamed to sin, and yet are ashamed to repent; not ashamed for the action for which they ought justly to be esteemed fools, but are ashamed of returning, which only can make them be esteemed wise men.” ( )
1 vote gbill | Feb 9, 2014 |
What an aggravating book. Chilling in its blithe acceptance of slavery and exploitation for personal gain, though of course this is not out of sync with the times in which it was written. Even put in context, though, it is hard to sympathize with this character beyond an admiration for his industry and compassion for anyone who is suffering, no matter how morally afflicted a fellow he may be. The racism is thick and irksome, from his descriptions of skin tone outward, and his "improvements" on the "savage" he saves and then dominates are of the sort justifiably decried in countless modern books on slavery, racism, and colonization.

It is also astonishingly boring. I have a higher level of patience than most for characters noodling around doing nothing much of interest in order to set the scene, but egads.

I am gobsmacked that this book is still published and recommended for children. It must be seriously rewritten in their versions. Yikes. ( )
  thesmellofbooks | Feb 8, 2014 |
I've been on a bit of a classic novel kick lately and this book may be the end of it for a little while. It was not bad, but there was a lot of potential in this novel that was left undeveloped. Robinson Crusoe is a story most know, the tale of a man stranded on a deserted island for years. While a fascinating story, I found Robinson Crusoe's interactions with the natives who sometime visited the island the most frustrating part of the tale. True to European stereotypes, these natives are cannibals. Furthermore, after rescuing one of their intended victims, a man who becomes his servant Friday, Robinson Crusoe proceeds to convert this man to Christianity. All in all, this classic novel tells one a great deal about the prejudices of the time it was written in. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Feb 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 157 (next | show all)
Defoe Complicates Ethics in Early Novels: Developing Moral Tolerance in 18th C. London

» Add other authors (138 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Defoe, Danielprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Abbott, Elenore PlaistedIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Anthony, NigelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
AviForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Becker, May LambertonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bown, DerickIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Casaletto, TomNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Duvoisin, RogerIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Finnemore, J.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hadden, J. CuthbertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herder, RonaldEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keith, RonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kredel, FritzIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pocock, Guy N.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rowlands, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swados, HarveyAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, LyndIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, Edward ArthurIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winter, MiloIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woolf, VirginiaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyeth, N.C.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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"I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family, though not of that country, my father being a foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull: he got a good estate by merchandise, and leaving off his trade, lived afterward at York, from whence he had married my mother, whose relations were named Robinson, a very good family in that country, and from whom I was called Robinson Kreutznaer; but, by the usual corruption of words in England, we are now called, nay, we call ourselves, and write our name Crusoe, and so my companions always called me.
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Robinson Crusoe, the highly acclaimed novel by Daniel Defoe, is a literary classic which is enjoyed by readers of all ages. The story deals with the life of a middle-class Englishman who forsakes convention to pursue his ambition to go to sea. After surviving capture by Turkish pirates and escaping from enslavement, he embarks on his pivotal voyage. The young Crusoe is shipwrecked on an island and for twenty-four years is a solitary castaway. Emerging from the background of a romantic adventure story is Defoe's exposition on isolation, self-reliance and companionship. Since 1719 this book has enticed an audience who, like Crusoe, long to be free from the constrictions of society.
Robinson Crusoe was interested in adventures and he wanted to spend his life on the adventure. One day one of his friends asked him if he wants to be sail...and then his story will begin.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375757325, Paperback)

Daniel Defoe relates the tale of an English sailor marooned on a desert island for nearly three decades. An ordinary man struggling to survive in extraordinary circumstances, Robinson Crusoe wrestles with fate and the nature of God. This edition features maps.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:27 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

On a desolate tropical island, a shipwrecked British seaman tries to master his hostile environment and remain civilized.

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21 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

Four editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439823, 0140367225, 014119510X, 0141199067

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