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Robinson Crusoe [Norton Critical Edition] (1719)

Tekijä: Daniel Defoe

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Presents an annotated text of Daniel Defoe'searly eighteenth-century novel about an adventurous Englishman who becomes the sole survivor of a shipwreck and lives for nearly thirty years on a desert island before being rescued, and includes a selection of contextual and critical essays.

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englanti (7)  saksa (1)  Kaikki kielet (8)
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 8) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
I was completely shocked to discover that the footprint does not belong to Friday. ( )
  linepainter | Aug 15, 2021 |
Forgettable snoozefest. ( )
  benuathanasia | May 12, 2018 |
Begleitet mich seit meiner Kindheit. EIn muss für alle Abenteurer und Träumer ( )
  Nowicki.Stefan | Apr 11, 2017 |
Having always thought that Robinson Crusoe would be one of those long and tedious 17th Century reads, akin to Henry Fielding or Laurence Sterne, I was actually really pleasantly surprised by this. I found it incredibly easy to read and it really is an adventure story that I can see children loving through the centuries.

The story itself was well-known to me - Robinson Crusoe leaves his family at an early age to embark upon a seafaring life. This accounts for all the adventures he has, of which the greatest is the fact that he is shipwrecked and is the sole survivor on a remote caribbean island, where he stays for 28 years before his 'deliverance'. While certainly very dramatic and unbelievable, it is written in such a straight-forward and honest manner that you cannot help but to like the main character Crusoe, despite all his many flaws. His thoughts and ideas are of course very much set in the time when it was written but it strikes a chord on many levels. In 'The Moonstone' by Wilkie Collins, one of the characters, Betteridge, finds solace and comfort in Robinson Crusoe, and whenever he has a particularly difficult problem to solve he turns to his copy to help find the answer. I have to say I can see why - this is a fast-paced adventure with a lot of tips on how to lead an honest life and I really enjoyed it. It definitely deserves it's place on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list and I can see myself reading it again one day. ( )
  sashinka | Jan 14, 2016 |
Published in 1719 there are claims that this is the first English novel, however I rather think that Thomas Mallory’s Le Morte d’Arthur published in 1485 has a better shout for that honour. Still, when I decided to read Robinson Crusoe I was as much interested in the historicity of the book as in the book itself. There have been through the ages many abridged versions squarely aimed at children or a very young adult market and when I was a kid it was one of those books like Treasure Island, Black Beauty, or The Coral Sea that were available to read: no sex, no romance nothing to trouble innocent minds and of course a stirring paean to a Protestant work ethic to boot. I read the Norton Critical edition that has an annotated version of the various editions published in 1719 with modernised spelling and punctuation.

The title page of the 1719 version claims that “The life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York, Mariner” was written by himself and so the novel is in the first person and the title page goes on to say that he lived 28 years all alone on an uninhabited island on the coast of America. We know therefore that he was eventually rescued and what his readers would have known way back in the early eighteenth century was that there were uninhabited islands somewhere across the ocean and there were recent news items of men who had survived alone after being marooned. The story is a familiar one to most of us even to those like me who have not read it before. Robinson Crusoe as a young man craves to go to sea despite the advice of his father to work in the family business. He gets captured by Turkish pirates and becomes a slave somewhere in North Africa, he escapes with the help of another slave: Xury and winds up in Brazil where he becomes a plantation owner. He agree to take ship again in a quest to buy negro slaves from Africa, he gets shipwrecked and is the only survivor to make landfall. It is an uninhabited island and after salvaging many useful items from the wrecked ship he lives alone untroubled for 15 years. The discovery of a footprint on the beach throws him into turmoil and his fears are enhanced when he sees evidence of a visit by cannibals; he finds human remains near a fire- pit. It is a further nine years until he confronts the cannibals and rescues one of their captives whom he calls his man Friday. Friday becomes his slave and they live for a further 4 years alone together before a passing ship leads to more adventures and their eventual release from the island. More adventures are crammed into the final 20 pages when on another trip Crusoe and Friday battle a wolf pack travelling across France.

After a hectic start to the novel and Crusoe’s shipwreck the action slows down as a third of the book is taken up by Crusoe’s industry in making himself lord of his Island. The discovery of the footprint changes the tone of the book, because Crusoe now has two live with his fear of the cannibals and we are two thirds of the way through before he effects the release of Friday. The final third is full of more adventures giving the novel a different pace again. The structure is uneven and critics over the years have put various interpretations on the moral of the story. It was an instant success and Defoe’s preface to an early edition was at pains to point out “it was a religious application of events and it was an instruction to others by this example.” This point certainly holds true for the first part of the novel as Crusoe by sheer hard work tames his island, sets his mind to civilising his environment and experiences a religious conversion. At this point we can see Defoe’s ideas on the dignity of labour or the triumphs of the therapy of work and self-help. Some people have read it as a back to nature experience, but this does not hold with Crusoes attempts to industrialise his island. Defoe was himself a pamphleteer writing about Puritan ideas and thoughts and so it is no surprise that Crusoe becomes at “one with God,” but the discovery of the foot print brings back all his previous fears and he becomes a haunted, frightened figure spending all his energy in trying to make himself secure. He even thinks about destroying all that he has built in an attempt to erase all evidence of his occupation. He eventually overcomes his fears and after turning his thoughts to the idea of ORIGINAL SIN:

“I have been in all my Circumstances a Memento to those touched with the general Plague of Mankind, whence, for ought I know, one half of their Miseries flow; I mean, that of not being satisfied by their station wherein God and nature has placed them, for not to look back on my primitive Condition, and the excellent advice of my father, the Opposition to which, was, as I may call it my ORIGINAL SIN; my subsequent Mistakes of the same kind had been the Means of my coming into this miserable Condition………”

he fortifies himself in the time honoured Christian fashion of “disobedience-punishment-repentance-deliverence.”

James Joyce an admirer of Robinson Crusoe claimed that:

“The whole Ango-Saxon spirit is in Crusoe: the manly independence; the unconscious cruelty; the persistence; the slow yet efficient intelligence; the sexual apathy; the practical, well-balanced religiousness; the calculating taciturnity. Whoever reads this simple, moving book in the light of subsequent history cannot help but fall under its spell.”

Many people have fallen under the books spell and I think this is because of Defoe’s skill in delivering to his readers the thoughts, hopes and fears that go on inside the head of Crusoe as he faces his challenges, his doubts and his fears. As readers we are made to feel Crusoe’s unique situation and we want him to succeed. This might have been easier for readers in the past, because today we cannot avoid seeing Crusoe’s racism, sexism, and as Joyce says his unconscious cruelty: for example Crusoe thinks nothing of selling his fellow escapee Xury back into slavery, the cannibals are less than human and man Friday is nothing more than his slave.

There is action and adventure in the story, shipwrecks, a pitched battle with the cannibals and finally a very strange interlude with a wolf-pack and a bear, but this is not why we would read the book today. I think it is to be read for the characterisation of Robinson Crusoe and his place in the history of literature. It might not be the first English novel, but it might be the first novel that gives us an insight into a man facing an extreme situation and one that comes true to life from an eighteenth century perspective. Who am I to argue that this is not a five star read. ( )
3 ääni baswood | Jan 11, 2016 |
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I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good Family, tho' not of that County, 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 County, and from whom I was called Robinson Kreutznaer; but by the usual Corruption of Words in England, we are now called, nay we call our selves, and write our Name Crusoe, and so my Companions always call'd me.

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Do Not Combine: This is a "Norton Critical Edition", it is a unique work with significant added material, including essays and background materials. Do not combine with other editions of the work. Please maintain the phrase "Norton Critical Edition" in the Canonical Title and Publisher Series fields.
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Presents an annotated text of Daniel Defoe'searly eighteenth-century novel about an adventurous Englishman who becomes the sole survivor of a shipwreck and lives for nearly thirty years on a desert island before being rescued, and includes a selection of contextual and critical essays.

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