'Robinson Crusoe' is published

'Robinson Crusoe' is published

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Daniel Defoe’s fictional work The Life and Strange Adventures of Robinson Crusoe is published. The book, about a shipwrecked sailor who spends 28 years on a deserted island, is based on the experiences of shipwreck victims and of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish sailor who spent four years on a small island off the coast of South America in the early 1700s.

Like his hero Crusoe, Daniel Defoe was an ordinary, middle-class Englishman, not an educated member of the nobility like most writers at the time. Defoe established himself as a small merchant but went bankrupt in 1692 and turned to political pamphleteering to support himself. A pamphlet he published in 1702 satirizing members of the High Church led to his arrest and trial for seditious libel in 1703. He appealed to powerful politician Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford, who had him freed from Newgate prison and who hired him as a political writer and spy to support his own views. To this end, Defoe set up the Review, which he edited and wrote from 1704 to 1713. It wasn’t until he was nearly 60 that he began writing fiction. His other works include Moll Flanders (1722) and Roxana (1724). He died in London in 1731, one day before the 12th anniversary of Robinson Crusoe’s publication.

Publication History of Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe, as we all know at least from what we covered in class two weeks ago, is a story about a man who essentially is shipwrecked and lives on an uninhabited island alone for 28 years. And as we discovered in our class discussion as well, the title page of the first edition makes explicit the nature of the story more thoroughly than we are used to in the titles or title pages of works these days.

Sequels: RC2 + RC3

Defoe actually wrote two sequels to this first part, refered to now as RC2 and RC3. Here's a picture of the first editions of each which were published within the year of the RC1.

Although these sequels were often attached or included after the original story to fatten up the edition so that they could be sold at higher prices, for the purposes of our research the text we covered is the RC1 about the man on the island. In case you're curious, though, RC2 is about Crusoe's life after he returns to England, makes a family and then develops an unquenchable desire to see his island again. And, so, "farther adventures” ensue as he travels to his island and then Madagascar, China, and Siberia. RC3, then, is just a series of moral essays with Crusoe's name attached to them. Not surprisingly this part was not as popular and not included in as many of the Robinson Crusoe editions. After all it's title alludes to "Serious Reflections" not "pyrates" or "farther adventures".

Happy birthday Robinson Crusoe: the fictional author of a “History of Fact”

I hope plans are afoot to celebrate the tercentenary of the publication of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe in 2019. With five years to go, however, 2014 also seems an apt time to take a look at this famous book, not least because this year is a celebration of all things Georgian: marking the accession of George I, we have the BBC’s Georgian Season, and exhibitions at the British Library and Queen’s Gallery. Signed just before George’s arrival, was the 1714 Longitude Act, the tercentenary of which is being marked with a Longitude Season at Royal Museums Greenwich.

Robinson Crusoe sits perfectly in the midst of this, highlighting new literary forms available to a growing reading public, and the interest in travel and the exotic at a time of expansion of maritime trade and empire.

While the book is seen today as an important precursor to the novel, as part of a new genre of realistic fiction, it was designed, at least in part, to confuse and to question. Robinson Crusoe was its purported author, not its title. The actual title of the first edition placed the book squarely in the realm of genuine (if sometimes embellished) travel narratives:

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 Pyrates. Written by Himself.

Full of geographical detail, with the “author” clearly identified, there was nothing to distinguish this as fiction. The picturesque image on the frontispiece pointed to the remarkable experiences to be related, but would have reminded readers of images of peoples from other parts of the world, shown as “other” but rendered strangely familiar by European artists, used to depicting European faces, landscapes and dress.

Defoe’s title is worth comparing to those of other travel and adventure narratives. For example, that published in 1681, by a real sea captain: Robert Knox of the East India Company. Alongside the experiences of Alexander Selkirk, who spent four years on an uninhabited island until being rescued in 1709, Knox’s adventures and narrative have been seen as one of Defoe’s inspirations:

An Historical Relation Of the Island Ceylon, in the East-Indies: Together, With an Account of the Detaining in Captivity the Author and divers other Englishmen now Living there, and of the Author’s Miraculous Escape. Illustrated with Figures, and a Map of the Island. By Robert Knox, Captive there near Twenty Years.

Knox’s book had been published by Richard Chiswell, identified on the title page as “Printer to the Royal Society”. As was typical of that Society’s tactics for underscoring the trustworthiness of new knowledge, emphasis was placed on the status of the author, the importance of eye-witness accounts and personal observation, told in plain writing and, as a bonus, supported by a map and illustrations.

Knox’s “Truth”, “Integrity” and “Credit” were attested to in statements from the very credit-worthy Christopher Wren and the Governor, Deputy-Governor and 24 named members of the Court of Committees of the East India Company, who included a fair sprinkling of baronets and knights. A preface by Robert Hooke lauded Knox’s efforts, not least for doing what the Royal Society repeatedly asked of travellers by sharing potentially useful observations and experience of foreign lands with the public.

Defoe naturally also made use of such devices, playing with his readers’ understanding of truth and credibility in a way that alarmed some but was so popular with the public that the book went through several editions in its first year. In a preface the book’s “editor” commended it to the public as “a just History of Fact”, noting that “The Story is told with Modesty, with Seriousness, and with a religious Application of Events to which Wise Men always apply them”.

Rather than as simply a novel, then, Robinson Crusoe should also be read as a hoax or, perhaps more accurately, as a satire on travel narratives and other texts attempting to present reliable knowledge. Whether readers took his fiction as truth, or they doubted it effects, it raised questions about the acceptance of the words put down, however plain the language, by other travellers, experimenters and observers. This uncertainty was, as much as the adventure and exoticism, part of the book’s appeal.

What Is a Short Summary of "Robinson Crusoe?"

"Robinson Crusoe" is about an adventurer who is shipwrecked on a desert island. The book was written by Daniel Defoe and was first published in 1719.

Robinson Crusoe was shipwrecked after a severe storm. He was the only survivor, and he immediately began to build a shelter and search for food for survival. He tried to salvage as much as possible from the shipwrecked ship and save things that he thought was useful. He began to write in a journal so that he would be able to remember what happened to him while he was on the island. He learned many useful skills, including fishing and farming. During his time on the island, Crusoe began to talk to God and reevaluate his religious beliefs.

After 15 years on the island, Crusoe discovered footprints in the sand but no signs of people. Years later, he spotted cannibals on the island. He spotted them again sometime later and noticed a victim escaping. Crusoe presumed the victim had managed to survive a shipwreck he spotted earlier in the year. Crusoe saved him, named him Friday and taught him how to speak English.

Crusoe and Friday were eventually rescued from the island after they helped the captain of the ship escape a mutiny. Once in England, Crusoe discovered that he was wealthy. He married and had three children, but Crusoe still wanted to continue his adventures.

The English novel was born with ‘Robinson Crusoe’ 300 years ago this year

April 25, 2019, marks the 300th anniversary of the publication of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe — and thus the 300th anniversary of the birth of the English novel. One can quite reasonably claim Robinson Crusoe was the first novel in the English language, if the novel is regarded as primarily, or necessarily, a realist form.

Defoe (1660–1731) wrote Robinson Crusoe in six months or less when he was in his late 50s and it became a publishing phenomenon.

By the end of 1719, th e re had been four editions, and it went on to become one of the most widely published books ever. By 1900, no book in the history of western literature had more editions, translations and imitations. The trend continued through the twentieth century, in film — more than 20 movies — television and radio, even in pantomime and opera, as well as in legacy fiction, leading to the founding of a genre, the ‘Robinsonade’. The book’s protagonists, Crusoe and ‘Man Friday’ (later ‘Girl Friday’, of course, in spin-off media) have become household words.

Robinson Crusoe masqueraded as a ‘true history’ — ‘history’ was the term used for such fiction until the word ‘novel’ came into use towards the end of the eighteenth century. Thus Robinson Crusoe was published to appear not as fiction, but as a chronicle of real events.

Its title page read: ‘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 Pyrates.’

The author’s name does not appear here indeed, Robinson Crusoe was credited as the author — ‘written by himself’ it says at the foot of the title page. Not only are all attributes of fiction avoided, the ‘editor’ of the book roundly dismisses any idea that the story might be invented.

Defoe’s inspiration probably came from stories of real-life castaways in his time the most likely source for Robinson Crusoe is the Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk who spent four years on the uninhabited island of Más a Tierra in the Juan Fernandez Islands in the South Pacific, off Chile. He was marooned there voluntarily after he refused to continue a voyage on a leaky ship. In 1966, the island was renamed Robinson Crusoe Island.

Selkirk’s rescue in 1709 by an English expedition led to the publication, in 1712, of his adventures in A Voyage to the South Sea and Round the World and A Cruising Voyage Around the World.

Earlier works

Key precursors to Robinson Crusoe in the history of the novel would be John Bunyan’s A Pilgrim’s Progress (1678, 1684), and Aphra Behn’s short work of fiction Oroonoko (1688). Eliza Haywood’s Love in Excess, published in the same year as Robinson Crusoe, could also be described as an early novel. It has been suggested that even earlier works, including Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte d’Arthur (1485) and the Prologue to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1400), could be considered as the beginnings of the novel.

Internationally, claims for the first novel go back to Don Quixote (1605, 1615) by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (c1547 -1616) — perhaps even to the Theologus Autodidactus written by the 13th century Arab physician Ibn al-Nafis between 1268–77, or the Tale of Genji, by the 11th century Japanese noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu, and dated to 1010.

What of Defoe himself, the man who invented the English novel as we know it? He was a colourful character. The son of a London tallow-chandler, James Foe, Daniel came from a Dissenting, or Puritan, background. In about 1695, he changed his name to Defoe for the appearance of a more elevated social status.

He was an exceedingly prolific journalist, whose collected works would fill many volumes, but a lifelong bankrupt, although an indefatigable entrepreneur. The new economic individualism of his time, when mercantilism was on the rise, explains much of Defoe’s (and Robinson Crusoe’s) character.

Defoe produced no fewer than 560 journals, tracts and books, many published anonymously or under assumed names. He was always trying to extricate himself from massive debts and stay out of the clutches of creditors. Ill-fated schemes of Defoe’s included attempts to sell marine insurance in time of war and to breed civet cats. For nine years, from 1704–13 he wrote a thrice-weekly journal, The Review, single-handedly. He was sentenced to punishment at the pillory when irony in one of his pamphlets in 1702 was taken seriously and mistaken for incitement against Dissenters (see James Charles Armytage’s 1862 line engraving of this event).

At the same time, Defoe was a spy for the Tory government, sending in secret reports about the political manoeuvring surrounding negotiations for the Act of Union between England and Scotland in 1707.

Two sequels

It’s not that well-known that Defoe went on to write two sequels to Robinson Crusoe: later in 1719, The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe appeared, and in 1720, Serious Reflections During the Life and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Cruisoe: with his Vision of the Angelick World.

So what was it that made Robinson Crusoe different from previous English fiction? We can answer this question under six headings.

Plot. Defoe was the first major writer in English literature who did not take a plot from mythology, history, legend or prior literature. The next was Samuel Richardson (1689–1761) whose immensely important novel Pamela (1740) it is relevant to mention a little later. In the plots of these two writers we see the difference, for example, from Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare and Milton.

Time. Defoe was the first to convey the reality of time, to portray a life in the bigger picture of a historical process, and in terms of day-to-day thoughts and activities. Although his timings are inconsistent, his narrative convinces us that it is occurring at a particular time.

Place. Defoe was the first to produce a whole narrative as if it took place in a physical environment to which a character was attached by means of vivid detail: the description of objects, for example, such as clothing and implements. Previously and traditionally, place was treated in vague and generalised way, with only incidental physical description.

Prose style. In Defoe, the use of figurative language, which had been a prominent feature of the romances hitherto, was noticeably reduced it was much rarer in Defoe and Richardson than any writer before. This resulted in a certain immediacy — primarily physical in Defoe and emotional in Richardson — absent from fiction previously.

Realism. Within the new prose style that Defoe and Richardson deployed lay a formal realism which was required to convey a complete and authentic account of human experience which, of course, became a convention and has stayed with the novel ever since.

Introspection: For the first time in fiction, in the character of Crusoe, we are admitted fully to a person’s inner life, his introspection in solitude, his thoughts, indeed his moral being. This advance was of paramount importance. Defoe, born and bred a Puritan, achieved this by using a common literary expression of Puritanism: the autographical memoir, or spiritual journal, a feature of the spiritual individualism then gaining ground alongside that of the economic.

Interior life

I’d like to discuss the depiction of the interior life in Robinson Crusoe because it is so important in the emergence of the novel — against a background of social change in the eighteenth century including a growing middle class and reading public and new philosophical thought — and its subsequent development.

We need to start with the theory of the thinking subject put forward by Descartes (1596–1650) which signalled a major change in Western psychological understanding by locating the source of meaning, creativity and truth within human subjectivity itself, this anthropocentric trend reflected in the rise of the novel in the eighteenth century.

John Locke (1632–1704) proposed a causal connection between sensation and knowledge which particularly influenced creative writers and critics in the eighteenth century, and replaced metaphysics with the psychological.

The psychological insight we are given into the interior lives of Crusoe — and later of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, a character which, I think, is important to link with Crusoe in this context — reflects a reconceptualisation of the soul as mind, brought about mainly by Locke who revealed the mental mechanism through which experience generates truth.

Such insight conveys an intense engagement with questions of existence, and provides evidence of the way in which mental imaging was now breaking loose from metaphysical structures which previously had required some transcendent origin or truth. In both characters, the significance of the unconscious mind is exposed, not least in its workings through dreams and disordered mental states.

In Robinson Crusoe, as touched on above, the presentation of the protagonist’s interior life is linked to the idea of spiritual autobiography which portrays the Puritan drama of the soul, or psyche, and to the intentions of Defoe as moralist, set out in his Preface, with regard to the ‘Instruction of the Reader’.

It also involves the depiction of Crusoe’s reliance on intuition, and his recognition of the ‘invisible world’ from which come dreams, premonitions and the proleptic imagination and its persuasiveness arises from the dramatic portrayal of Crusoe’s inner struggles, and the creation of a believable ‘round’ character, using E M Forster’s term (a ‘round’ character develops and alters while a ‘flat’ one does not).

Crusoe’s ‘strange surprizing adventures’ take place not only in the external world, but in the internal one, too.

Direct rendering

With Richardson we have the direct rendering of the minds of his characters in the very moment of thinking and feeling, and in Pamela, as in Robinson Crusoe, the persuasiveness of the presentation of the interior life lies in the communication of Pamela’s mental turmoil and the concomitant achievement of a ‘round’ character.

While Richardson is much more interested in analysing feelings and mental processes than Defoe, the approach of both writers is to combine psychological realism with didacticism Richardson, in his Preface, says he wants to ‘instruct and improve the minds of the youth of both sexes’, and I feel an important part of the purpose of the presentation of Pamela’s interior life is to show the deliberations which lead to ‘virtue rewarded’, to quote the sub-title of Pamela.

Given his non-conformist, dissenting background, Defoe would have been familiar with the tradition of spiritual autobiography. Actually, the Puritan custom of keeping a journal of one’s journey to salvation had spread beyond the dissenting groups, and a pattern of spiritual development is clearly seen in Robinson Crusoe.

Storm and shipwreck have always been powerful metaphors for spiritual conflict, and Crusoe’s isolation and alienation reach a dramatic climax in episodes of bibliolatry and frenetic conversion.

Crusoe’s sense of sin — after acknowledging his inner struggle over his rejection of his parents’ station in life which he eventually regards as his ‘original sin’ — a dark night of the soul, repentance, conversion, and even evangelism in his instruction of Friday, all contribute to spiritual progress, Crusoe’s reflections upon which eventually cause him to rejoice that he was brought to the island.

Some commentators see Defoe’s fiction as having evolved out of genuine memoirs of spiritual autobiography written in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the traditional sequence of which Robinson Crusoe follows, for a primary concern of Defoe is the spiritual development of his hero.

A powerful drive to growth in faith is Crusoe’s thoughtful and reasoning nature. He uses his mind not just for spiritual self-analysis but to analyse, interpret and understand what today we might call ‘the bigger picture’. He thinks through the strengths and weaknesses of his situation, his values and his own mental make-up. In a sense, the whole narrative is a reflection of Crusoe’s inner life, especially after he arrives on the island with his continuing battle of inward grace with outward temptation.

Discomfiting footprint

After Crusoe finds the discomfiting footprint in the sand, which banishes his ‘religious Hope’, he is thrust into a mental turmoil of ‘Cogitations, Apprehensions and Reflections’, enters ‘the utmost Debate with myself’, and has ‘frightful Dreams’. One night, unable to sleep, he runs over the whole of his past life, with thoughts whirling through ‘that great thorow-fare of the Brain, the Memory’, and realises how infinitely good providence has been to protect him.

Indeed, the Christian notion of providence — the protective care of God or of nature as a spiritual power, as well as the proleptic preparation for future eventualities — is a central concern in Robinson Crusoe. Crusoe often feels himself guided by a divinely ordained fate, thus explaining his robust optimism in the face of apparent hopelessness.

Providence comes to be bound up with intuition, the ‘secret Dictate’ which Crusoe never fails to obey, and which amounts to the promptings of the unconscious mind, the ‘invisible World’ that warns of danger. His various fortunate intuitions are taken as evidence of a benign ‘Converse of Spirits’. Crusoe also has a premonitory dream of rescuing a savage, brought to the island by cannibals, and making the man his servant.

In a key passage, Crusoe refers to ‘secret moving Springs in the Affections’, which seems to bear out the influence of Descartes and Locke — with regard to experience and observation being the source of ideas — on Defoe’s attitudes to the inner life, and where Defoe has used the then commonplace analogy of ‘clock-and-divine-clock-maker’, or well-balanced machine, for man and the universe.

Turning again to Richardson, his innovation was to treat prose as a medium for expressing thoughts and feelings, or ‘sentiments’ as they were described in his day, the drama for the first time taking place inside the characters, and the epistolary convention was the device he used to create the illusion of ‘living in a character’s mind’.

Richardson taught his contemporaries that the written word could be used as a vehicle for inner journeys, and to convey new states of intensity of consciousness the fact that Pamela has to keep her writings hidden from censorious forces suggests, perhaps, an unconscious unease on the part of Richardson — at a time when the hold of religious faith was still extremely strong — with that movement of mental imaging away from its prior involvement with a transcendental deity to that of the newly exalted realm of personal subjectivity.

Nevertheless, Richardson knew that well-written letters could reveal all the ‘finer springs and movements’ (the clock analogy again) of the inner life.

Conscious mind

Richardson seems fascinated by the point where unconscious personal and archetypal feelings and perceptions rise to the conscious mind, where inner and outer worlds conjoin in the act of writing. Pamela is in the process of making a self, Richardson giving the impression that she is developing and changing from within.

Many psychologists have encouraged patients to use cognitive therapy to overcome anxiety and other conditions characterised by negative thought patterns. Some write down their negative thoughts and counter them with positive ones in what is intended to be an honest appraisal of their thought processes. Seeing the results on paper objectifies their mental status and puts it in a proper perspective.

Crusoe performs just such an exercise, soon after being cast up on the island, to ‘deliver my Thoughts from daily poring upon them, and afflicting my mind’, and later carries on a journal until he runs out of ink. Similarly, Pamela includes in her letters an account of the inner debate that persuaded her against suicide at the pond’s edge: ‘What art thou about to do, wretched Pamela?’

Pamela’s meditation on suicide is probably the most powerful description of her thought processes in the book. She describes how she sat by the pond, began to ponder her condition, and reasoned with herself. She imagines her dead body dragged from the pond, causing her tormentors to ‘lament their misdoings’, but then finds herself presumptuous, asks who gave her power over her life, or authorised her to end it, and realises that, in taking her own life, she would be guilty of a sin that could not be forgiven.

Crucially, the inner debate leads Pamela to the conclusion that, although she would have praised God if she had managed to escape by the back door as she planned, she had greater reason to praise him for delivering her from herself — a worse enemy even than her ‘wicked keepers, and my designing master’. In psychological terms, Pamela has confronted and overcome the ‘dark side’ of her nature.

Moral sense

Anthony Ashley Cooper, third earl of Shaftesbury (1671–1713), who was partly educated under Locke, made a case for an innate moral sense which, when developed and cultivated by reflection, enabled right to be distinguished from wrong ‘immediately, spontaneously and intuitively’, an approach to life which, I suggest, Richardson exemplified in the character of Pamela generally, and specifically in the outcome of the meditation on suicide.

Pamela’s letters and poetry (and her rewriting of the psalm) are the indisputable evidence of an interior life, of the workings of conscience and moral sense, leading even to the first stream of consciousness in fiction as Pamela interrogates herself immediately after her conversation with Mr B by the pond.

It has to be admitted, however, that, as various critics have pointed out, the continuity of the direct and spontaneous voice that we take as Pamela’s own — the way in which she becomes ‘real’ to the reader — is often undermined by a second, distanced voice which we may attribute to the moralising Richardson himself, betrayed by the unrealistic aspects of the epistolary convention.

If reality is to be found above all in the activity and growth of a character’s consciousness, then Crusoe’s substantial internalisation of experience is crucial. The evidence for this lies in his journal, his ruminations on existence, his faith in intuition, his spiritual progress, and the actions of memory which are enmeshed with spiritual forces in the psyche urging him towards a more generous and humane identity.

The persuasiveness and purpose of the presentation of the interior lives of Crusoe and Pamela are to be found in the way in which the reader is able to share their responses to experience, and in how the lived consciousness of the reader is touched at a much deeper and more profound level than ever before in English fiction.


The young Robinson Crusoe and his father. Illustration from an 1868 Polish edition of Robinson Crusoe.

Robinson Crusoe is born in York. he is the son of an English mother and a German merchant from Bremen. His real name is Robinson Kreutznaer. Everybody has always called him Crusoe, however, and that is what he calls himself.

From a young age, Robinson Crusoe wants to go away to sea. When he is 18 years old, he tells his father of his wishes. Robinson Crusoe's father cannot understand why his son wants to leave the comfortable middle-class life that he has in England. He refuses to give approval to the young man's plans and warns his son that going away to sea will lead to nothing but misery. Robinson Crusoe's mother also makes it plain that she does not approve of his plan to go to sea.

Almost a year later, Robinson Crusoe meets a friend of his while he is visiting Hull. Crusoe's friend is traveling to London by ship and invites Crusoe to come with him. Crusoe gladly accepts the invitation. On the first night of the voyage, there is a storm. Crusoe comes to regret his decision and vows to return home. Crusoe forgets his fears and the vows he made when the sea becomes calm again. He comes to enjoy life on board the ship. A few days later, there is a terrible storm. Crusoe and the rest of the people on board are rescued before the ship sinks and are brought ashore at Yarmouth. They are given lodgings in the town and enough money to either continue the journey to London or return to Hull. The ship's captain (the father of Crusoe's friend) tells Crusoe that he should go home and take what has happened to him as a sign that he is not meant to be a sailor. Crusoe, however, chooses to travel on to London by road. When he gets to the city, he looks for another ship on which he can sail.

In London, Crusoe befriends the captain of a ship bound for Africa. The captain allows Crusoe to travel on the ship as a passenger. In Africa, Crusoe trades 40 pounds worth of trinkets for some gold dust. He is able to sell the gold dust for 300 pounds when he returns to London. Crusoe decides to travel to Africa again. This time, the ship that Crusoe is sailing on is attacked by Turkish pirates. All the men on board the ship are captured and taken as slaves. Crusoe becomes the personal slave of the Turkish pirate captain. He is taken to the pirate captain's home on the coast of Morocco and remains there for two years. When the pirate captain is at home, he enjoys fishing. He is impressed by Crusoe's skills as a fisherman.

The Turkish pirate captain takes Crusoe as a slave. 1836 illustration by the French artist Achille Devéria.

The pirate captain is expecting some friends to join him for a fishing and shooting party. For that reason, food, drink, guns and grenades are put in his large fishing boat. The pirate captain tells Crusoe and two of his other slaves, a Moroccan man named Ismail and a Moroccan boy named Xury, that his friends will not be able to join him until the evening. He tells his slaves to go out on their own and catch some fish that he can serve his friends for dinner. Saying that it would not be right to eat the food intended for the pirate captain and his friends, Crusoe gets the pirate captain to give them some extra food and water. When they are out at sea, Crusoe throws Ismail overboard. He tells Ismail, who is an excellent swimmer, to swim back to shore. Xury agrees to obey Crusoe. Wanting at first simply to get away from Morocco and having no clear idea of where he is going, Crusoe sails down the coast of Africa. He then tries to reach the Cape Verde islands, where all Spanish and Portuguese ships stop when crossing the Atlantic.

Crusoe's boat is eventually spotted by a Portuguese ship that is bound for Brazil. The ship's captain takes Xury as a slave. At Crusoe's insistence, he agrees to set the boy free after ten years if he converts to Christianity. Crusoe sails on the ship to Brazil. There, he stays with a friend of the ship's captain who owns a sugar plantation. Crusoe learns about planting sugar from him. He decides that he wants to have a plantation himself. Crusoe obtains permission to stay in Brazil, buys some land and establishes a sugar plantation. He makes good money from his plantation and stays in Brazil for four years. Often, however, he feels unhappy because he is living the kind of comfortable middle-class life that his father wanted him to live and that he wanted to get away from by leaving England. He often thinks about going to sea again.

Crusoe befriends other plantation owners. He tells them about his journey to Africa and about how trinkets can be traded there for gold, ivory and slaves. As a result of Crusoe's stories, some of the plantation owners decide to sail to Africa to get some slaves. They ask Crusoe if he wants to go with them. Crusoe happily accepts the invitation.

Screenshot from the 1902 French silent film Robinson Crusoe directed by Georges Méliès.

The ship sails north. It soon hits very bad weather and is badly damaged. Realizing that it is impossible to reach Africa, Crusoe and the ship's captain decide to head for Barbados. The ship runs aground near an uninhabited island in the Caribbean. strong wind and waves still threaten to destroy the ship. All of the men on board get into a lifeboat. The boat is swallowed by an enormous wave. Everybody on board is drowned, apart from Crusoe. Being a very strong swimmer, Crusoe is able to swim to shore, far away from where the ship has run aground. Crusoe is able to find some fresh water to drink but can see nothing to eat. He has nothing with him apart from a knife, a pipe and a little tobacco. To protect himself from any wild animals that might be on the island, Crusoe climbs a tree and spends the night there.

The following morning, Crusoe sees that the ship is still intact. He sadly realizes that if he and the others had stayed on board, they would all still be alive and he would not be alone. He is also aware, however, that the ship will be destroyed by the first storm that comes to the island. He decides to salvage as much useful material from the ship as he can while it is still there. He swims out to the ship. He takes food and liquor, guns and gunpowder from the ship. He uses some wood from the ship to make a raft. He steers the raft to a cave that he thinks is a suitable place to set up camp.

Crusoe goes up a small mountain to better observe the island on which he finds himself. He sees that there is nothing near the island apart from rocks and two smaller islands quite far out to sea. He also sees that the island is barren and uninhabited. Crusoe sees no large wild animals, although he sees a great many birds. While going down the mountain, Crusoe shoots a large bird. A great many animals and birds take flight at the sound of the gunshot, probably the first that has ever been fired on the island. Crusoe finds that the bird's flesh is inedible. He takes comfort, however, in the fact that he saw two animals that looked like hares run away when he fired his gun.

Over the following twelve days, Crusoe goes back to the ship each day. He takes sails, which he uses to make a tent. He also takes more food and liquor, tools, a hammock, clothes, pens, ink and paper, three Bibles in English (that Crusoe had sent to him from England to Brazil), other books in Portuguese and even some money. He takes the two female cats that were on board the ship. One of those cats later mates with some wild cat on the island and has kittens, eventually resulting in the island having a large population of feral cats. The dog that was on board the ship leaves of its own accord and comes to join Crusoe. On the thirteenth day, a storm comes and sinks the ship.

Crusoe sets up a sign which reads, "I came here on the 30th September 1659." Illustration by Alexander Frank Lydon from an 1865 British edition of Robinson Crusoe.

Crusoe begins constructing a more permanent home for himself. he finds a small cave in some soft rock. He makes the cave larger and uses it as a storeroom. He sets up a tent in front of the cave and places wooden stakes around the tent. In time, he places turf on the wooden stakes to make a wall. There is no door in the wall. Instead, Crusoe makes a ladder which he uses to get over it.

Each day, Crusoe goes hunting. He keeps the skins of all the animals that he kills and dries them in the sun. Crusoe finds that there are goats on the island. They are not easy to hunt, however, and Crusoe's first two attempts to domesticate one of them fail.

Not wanting to lose track of time, Crusoe makes a wooden sign which reads, "I came here on the 30th September 1659." He puts the sign on a pole and cuts a notch in the pole each day. He cuts a longer notch on Sundays and on the first day of each month.

Although he has never done any carpentry before, Crusoe finds that he is able to make a table and chair for himself.

For as long as his ink lasts, Crusoe keeps a journal.

Crusoe finds barley growing. 1842 illustration by the French artist Louis-Henri Brévière.

One day, Crusoe sees barley, which looks exactly like English barley, and rice growing. He thinks at first that it is a miracle. He then remembers that he took a bag from the ship that had contained chicken feed. Most of the feed had been eaten by rats. Crusoe emptied the sack of the few seeds that remained so that he could use it for some other purpose. Those seeds had started to grow into barley and rice plants. When the barley and rice are ready to plant, Crusoe plants their seeds again. it is only after four years that he is able to grow enough barley and rice to use for food.

An earthquake hits the island, followed immediately afterwards by a hurricane. As a result of those natural disasters, the wrecked ship moves. It is now higher out of the water than it used to be and it is now possible for Crusoe to walk to it at low tide. The ship also has been broken open more than it was before. As a result, several items from the ship get washed up on shore. Crusoe tries to go inside the ship. He finds, however, that it is almost entirely filled with water and sand. Nevertheless, Crusoe decides to strip the ship of everything that he can take from it. He goes to the wreck nearly every day for a month. He takes a large quantity of wood from it and also some lead.

Crusoe has a bad deam in which a Heavenly messenger threatens him with a spear. 1836 illustration by the French artists Achille Déveria and Henry Isidore Chevauchet.

Robinson Crusoe becomes sick with a fever. He has a bad dream in which a man with a spear descends from Heaven. The man says to Crusoe, "Seeing all these things have not brought thee to repentance, now thou shalt die." After that, Crusoe's thoughts begin to turn to God. He feels that he might be being punished for his past sins. He calls on God for help. For the first time in his life, he asks God to bless his food. Crusoe remembers that the natives of Brazil use tobacco to cure themselves of all sicknesses. He goes to a chest where he keeps some tobacco. He chews some tobacco, burns some tobacco and inhales the smoke and mixes some tobacco with rum and water and drinks it. He also tries to read the Bible. He reads the words, "Call on Me in the day of trouble and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me." Γ] Before he goes to bed, Crusoe sincerely prays for the first time in his life.

Crusoe wakes up feeling much better at about three o'clock in the afternoon the next day, or possibly the day after because he finds out later that he has somehow lost a day. Crusoe continues to use tobacco as medicine and decides to read the Bible everyday. He realizes that, although he has not been delivered from captivity on his island prison, he has been delivered from his sickness and delivered from sin. He sincerely gives thanks to God.

Robinson Crusoe finds that there are only two seasons on his island, a rainy season and a dry season. The rainy season lasts from mid-February until mid-April and from mid-August until mid-October. The dry season lasts from mid-April until mid-August and from mid-October until mid-February.

1874 depiction of Robinson Crusoe.

After he has been on the island for ten months, Crusoe becomes resigned to the fact that he will probably have to stay there for the rest of his life. He decides to explore the island. Further inland, he finds tobacco plants, melons, grapes (which he dries to make raisins), cocoa, orange, lemon and lime trees. Crusoe thinks about moving to that part of the island permanently. He decides that he is better off staying by the coast, where there is still the faint hope that he might be rescued or that another castaway might arrive to keep him company. He decides, however, to set up a second home further inland. He builds a wooden hut and puts up a hedge and wooden stakes around it. He stays there for most of the dry season.

In the rainy season, Crusoe extends his cave further until he eventually comes out of the other side of the hill. He is a little worried about leaving the new entrance to the cave that he has made open, even though he has seen no animals larger than goats on the island.

When Crusoe returns to his second home in November, he finds that branches have grown on the wooden stakes that he planted around it and that they are now trees. He finds that the twigs from those trees are good for making baskets, which he comes to use instead of sacks.

When he has been on the island for two years, Crusoe decides to explore it further. Taking his dog with him, he walks to the coast on the other side of the island. He can see another coastline across the sea. He thinks that it is probably part of the mainland of the American continent and that it is probably a Spanish possession inhabited by cannibals. Crusoe realizes that, in many ways, the side of the island to which he has traveled is better than the side of the island on which he lives. There are many animals that he can eat there, including birds, hares, turtles and more goats. Nevertheless, Crusoe has come to consider the part of the island on which he has settled his home and he longs to go back there.

Crusoe and the first goat that he manages to tame. 1842 illustration by the French artist Louis-Henri Brévière.

While he is on the other side of the island, Crusoe captures a parrot, which he names Poll and eventually teaches to talk. While Crusoe is traveling back to his home, his dog attacks a young female goat. Crusoe stops the dog from killing the goat and brings it home. It soon becomes very tame. Unfortunately, Crusoe does not manage to capture a male goat with which that goat could breed. He also finds that he does not have the heart to kill his first tame goat and it eventually dies of old age.

After much trial and effort and many failed attempts. Crusoe manages to make two large clay pots in which he can store his barley and rice. After even more difficulty, Crusoe eventually learns how to make clay pots in which he can cook foods such as soup. Crusoe also makes a wooden pestle and mortar and uses calico sailors' neckcloths, which he salvaged form the ship, to make sieves. He is then able to make his barley into flour and bake unleavened bread. He becomes quite skillful at making cakes and puddings from his rice.

Even though he thinks that land might be inhabited by cannibals, Crusoe cannot help thinking about the other coastline that he saw. He decides to sail there. Crusoe finds the lifeboat in which he arrived on the island. He tries repeatedly to get it out of the sand but finds that he is unable to move the heavy boat. He then decides to make a canoe. He spends many days cutting down a huge cedar tree and then several more days cutting a canoe from the tree. he then finds that he is unable to get the heavy canoe from the inland forest to the sea. Crusoe sadly realizes that he foolishly began work on something without having determined whether or not he could complete the task and without having planned it properly. He does not make the same mistake again.

Crusoe in his animal skin clothes makes an umbrella. illustration by Laura Valentine from the late 19th century American children's book Aunt Louisa's Oft Told Tales.

After he has been on the island for four years, Crusoe's clothes begin to rot. To protect his head from the sun, Crusoe makes a goatskin cap. He goes on to make a complete outfit for himself out of the many animal skins that he has kept. With a lot of difficulty, Crusoe manages to make an umbrella for himself, which protects him from both the sun and the rain.

When he has been on the island for nearly six years, Crusoe makes another canoe, a smaller one than the one he made before. He is able to get that canoe into the sea. He does not intend to reach the other coastline that he saw before because he knows his small canoe is not fit for that purpose. He wishes merely to get to know his island better by sailing around it. Crusoe gets caught in a strong current and narrowly avoids being carried far out to sea. He is greatly relieved when he is able to make his way back to the island. He finds that he is near to his second home. He leaves his canoe in a cove, in case he has need of it in the future. He does not, however, want to go to sea again.

By the time he has been on the island for eleven years, Crusoe is running out of gunpowder. He is worried that he will no longer have any meat when he can no longer hunt with his rifles. He decides once again to try to tame goats. After several failed attempts, he eventually manages to capture three kids, a male and two females, in a pitfall trap. Crusoe decides that he needs to make an enclosure for his goats so that they will not run off with the wild goats. He places a hedge around a meadow. Until he has finished putting up the hedge, he keeps the three kids tied up and feeds them out of his hand. Crusoe captures more wild goats and breeds the ones that he has. After three years, he has forty-three goats. His goats provide him with meat and also with milk. In time, he learns to make the milk into butter and cheese.

Illustration by Laura Valentine from the late 19th century children's book Aunt Louisa's Oft Told Tales which depicts Crusoe finding human footprints. In the original novel, Crusoe becomes startled when he sees a single footprint.

By the fifteenth year of his time on the island, Crusoe has begun going for short excursions in his canoe. He is careful, however, never to go very far from shore. While going to get his boat one day, Crusoe sees a single human footprint in the sand. He does not see any other footprints or any other signs of human presence. He becomes extremely frightened and fancies that every bush, tree and stump that he sees on the way home is a man. He does not sleep at all that night. Crusoe thinks that the footprint may have been left by the Devil but thinks it more likely that it was left by someone from the mainland. He becomes frightened that cannibals from the mainland might have seen his boat. They might then come to eat him or, at least, take all his barley rice and goats. Crusoe continues to worry about the possible presence of hostile natives on his island for a long time. He does not leave his cave for three days. He then remembers the words from the Bible, "Call on Me in the day of trouble and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me." He prays and then opens the Bible again. He reads, "Wait on the Lord, and be of good cheer, and He shall strengthen thy heart, wait I say, on the Lord." Δ] He then becomes braver.

It occurs to Crusoe that the footprint he saw might be his own. He goes to the footprint again to examine it. He sees that it is much longer than his own foot. Crusoe realizes that people from the mainland sometimes come to his island. They probably do not stay long because they believe the island to be uninhabited. Crusoe regrets having left the second entrance to his cave open. He builds a thick wall around it, like the one at the other entrance to his cave. He places seven muskets in holes in the wall so that he can fire at anyone who tries to attack him. He places wooden stakes in front of the wall. Those stakes grow into trees. After six years, those trees completely hide the entrance to his home.

Out of fear that he might lose them to hostile natives or as a result of some other disaster, Crusoe decides to divide his herd of goats into two. That way, he would be more likely to keep at least half of them and would not have to begin the process of domesticating goats all over again. While looking for a suitable place to keep half of his goats, Crusoe thinks that he can see a ship on the sea in the distance. He is not certain, however. For that reason, he decides that he will never go out in the future without taking one of the telescopes that he salvaged from the ship with him.

Crusoe finds the remains of a cannibal feasts. Illustration from an 1868 Polish edition of Robinson Crusoe.

While still looking for a suitable place to keep some of his goats, Crusoe comes to a beach that he has never visited before. He finds the beach littered with human skulls and other human bones. He also sees the remains of a fire. The sight makes Crusoe vomit. He then hurries home as fast as he can. Afterwards, Crusoe never goes out without taking three pistols and a cutlass with him in addition to the rifle that he always carries for hunting.

Crusoe begins to think about frightening away the cannibals who have come to his island. He decides that he could ambush them and could then kill a great many of them with his guns and his swords. He lies in wait for the cannibals many times but does not see any. He later decides that it was a bad idea. If one of the cannibals escaped with his life, he would then tell the other cannibals on the mainland about Crusoe. Thousands of cannibals would then come to the island with the intention of killing Crusoe. It also occurs to Crusoe that the cannibals have done no harm to him and that, in their society, killing and eating people is not considered a crime or a sin. He decides to leave it to God to punish them.

Aware that cannibals have come to his island, Crusoe becomes much more cautious. He moves his canoe to a part of the island where he thinks that the cannibals do not come because of the strong ocean currents. He tries not to do any activities which would give his presence away due to the noise that they make. He does not fire his gun for two years. He does all activities which involve fire at his inland second home and spends more and more time there as a result.

While cutting down some wood near his second home, Crusoe notices the opening to a cave. He goes back the next day, taking some candles that he has made from goat tallow with him, to explore the cave further. He finds the cave to be dry and free of dangerous animals. Something in the rock, possibly gold or diamonds, reflects the light from his candle. Crusoe decides to move some of his guns, his gunpowder and lead to make bullets to the cave for safekeeping.

By the time that he has been on the island for twenty-three years, Crusoe is quite contented with his life there. His dog has now died. Poll the parrot is still living and speaks very clearly. Crusoe also has two other parrots, which do not speak as well as Poll does. In his house, he also keeps some sea birds that he tamed, two cats (descendants of the cat from the ship and the wild cat with which it mated) and a few goats which eat out of his hand.

Robinson Crusoe watches the cannibals from a distance. Late 19th century illustration by the German artists Carl Offterdinger and Walter Zweigle.

Very early one morning in December, Crusoe is harvesting his crops. He sees a fire on a beach and realizes that, for the first time, cannibals have come to the part of the island on which he lives. Crusoe hurries home. Eventually, however, his curiosity overcomes him. From a hill, Crusoe watches the cannibals through a telescope until they leave. After they have left, Crusoe goes down to the beach and again sees the human remains that the cannibals have left behind. Again, Crusoe becomes overcome with anger towards the cannibals and plans to kill as many as he can when they return to his island.

One stormy night in May in the twenty-fourth year of Crusoe's time on the island, he hears a cannon being fired out at sea. He concludes that there is a ship in distress. Crusoe realizes that he cannot help the people on the ship but thinks that they might be able to help him. He gathers together as much dry wood as he can and starts a fire on top of a hill. Nobody comes to his aid, however.

The following morning, Crusoe sees a wrecked ship caught between two rocks. No survivors can be seen. A few days later, the corpse of a young sailor gets washed up on shore. Crusoe wants to go out to the ship. He does not, however, want to get caught up again in a strong current that would carry him away from the island. After carefully observing the tides and currents, he works out when is a safe time to go to the wrecked ship in his canoe. The ship appears to be Spanish. Crusoe finds two drowned sailors on board it but no survivors.

Crusoe is not able to take very much from the ship because he cannot carry very much in his canoe and the ship is not safe to explore. He takes some items, however, including a small cask of rum, a powder horn, two kettles, a metal cooking pot and two trunks. When he gets the trunks on shore, Crusoe finds that they contain some more gunpowder, bottles full of cordial, candy, handkerchiefs, clothes, bars of gold and money. Although he knows that money is currently useless to him, Crusoe keeps it anyway.

In the twenty-fourth year of his time on the island, Crusoe often thinks about how he could escape from it. He reasons that since cannibals are able to sail to his island, he should be able to sail towards the mainland from which they come. He believes that he could then continue sailing down the coast until he reaches a European colony or is picked up by a European ship.

After thinking about this plans for leaving the island one night, Crusoe falls asleep and has a dream in which a prisoner of the cannibals runs away from them, goes to Crusoe for protection and becomes his servant. In his dream, Crusoe thinks that he will now be able to sail to the mainland because his native servant will be able to tell him where is and where is not a safe place to land. When he wakes up, Crusoe determines to get himself a native servant by rescuing one of the prisoners of the cannibals. He justifies to himself the necessity of killing several of the cannibals that rescuing one of their prisoners would entail by thinking that he would be acting in a kind of self-defense. If he does not attack them, he will be condemned to remain a prisoner on the island. Crusoe often goes to the parts o the island where the cannibals have come in the past and lies in wait for them. He does not see any, however, for nearly two years and eventually forgets about his plan.

Robinson Crusoe rescues Friday. Late 19th century illustration by the German artists Carl Offterdinger and Walter Zweigle.

One day, Crusoe sees five canoes approach his side of the island. Crusoe knows that there must be at least twenty men in the canoes and that he cannot attack all of them. Nevertheless, he watches them from the top of a hill and prepares to attack if necessary. The cannibals have four prisoners of war from another tribe with them. While they are killing and cutting up one of the prisoners, another prisoner sees his chance to escape. The prisoner runs away extremely quickly. To Crusoe's surprise, only three of the cannibals go off in pursuit of him. When the prisoner gets to a creek and swims, one of the cannibals, who cannot swim, stops pursuing him. The other two continue.

Crusoe goes down the hill and gets between the prisoner and his pursuers. Crusoe hits one of the pursuers on the head with the butt of his rifle and knocks the man unconscious. Noticing that the other pursuer has a bow and arrow and is preparing to fire the arrow at him, Crusoe is obliged to shoot him dead first. The prisoner kneels down before Crusoe and puts Crusoe's foot on his head as a sign that, as a reward for saving his life, he will be Crusoe's servant forever. When the first pursuer begins to regain consciousness, the prisoner takes Crusoe's sword and cuts off the cannibal's head. He insists on quickly burying the two men in the sand before following Crusoe back to the cave near his second home. Crusoe gives him food and water and shows him where he can sleep.

Robinson Crusoe names the man he has rescued Friday because he saved his life on a Friday. Crusoe teaches Friday to recognize his new name and to call him "master". He also quickly gets Friday to understand the meaning of "yes' and "no". Crusoe leads Friday back to his original home by the coast. When they pass the point where the two men are buried, Friday mimes that they should dig them up and eat them. Crusoe lets Friday know that he finds that idea disgusting and completely unacceptable.

Crusoe and Friday go up to the top of the hill to see if the cannibals are still on the island. They see that the cannibals have left without looking for the two men who were left behind. Crusoe and Friday go down to the beach. Crusoe is disgusted by the sight of the remains of the cannibal feast. Friday is clearly tempted to eat some of the human flesh. Crusoe makes him understand that he will kill him if he does so. Crusoe gets Friday to gather up all the human remains and burn them to ashes.

Friday is given some clothes by Crusoe. Robinson Crusoe begins to teach Friday everything that he needs to know to become a good servant. Above all, Crusoe is keen to teach Friday to speak and understand English. He finds Friday to be an eager and excellent student.

When Friday is able to speak English sufficiently well, Crusoe asks him a lot of questions about his own country. Thanks to what Friday tells him, Crusoe realizes that he is near to the island of Trinidad and that the tides that affect his island are dues to its proximity to the mouth of the Orinoco River. Friday tells Crusoe that there is a place beyond his country where bearded white men live that have killed many people. Crusoe understands that those men must be Spanish. Crusoe asks Friday if it would be possible for him to go where those other white men live. Friday says that it would be possible but that Crusoe would need a boat as large as two canoes to travel there.

1874 depiction of Robinson Crusoe and Friday.

Robinson Crusoe begins teaching Friday about Christianity. Friday asks many difficult questions about the faith which force Crusoe to think about his own religion more deeply than he had ever done before. Crusoe converts Friday and says of him that he was, "such a Christian as I have known few equal to him in my life."

Crusoe teaches Friday about life in England and other European countries. He also tells him about how he came to the island. Crusoe shows Friday the place where his wrecked ship once stood and shows him the lifeboat, which he was never able to get out of the sand and is now much damaged. Friday says that he has seen a boat like that before. He says that, some years earlier, seventeen bearded white men came to his land in such a boat and that his people saved them from drowning. Friday's people did not eat the bearded white men because they only eat their enemies that they defeat in war. Friday assures Crusoe that the seventeen white men are still living in his country.

One clear day, when Crusoe and Friday are on the top of a hill, Friday becomes greatly excited when he can see the coastline of his homeland across the sea. This worries Crusoe because he thinks that Friday is keen to go home and that, if he did so, he would abandon his Christian faith, would become a cannibal again and would happily eat Crusoe himself if he had the chance. After worrying about this for several days, Crusoe asks Friday if he would do those things if he went home. Friday says that he would not. He says that he would tell his people not to eat human flesh and to pray to God. Crusoe says that Friday's people would kill him if he said that. Friday says that they would not. He says that his people love to learn and that they have learned a lot from the seventeen white men. Crusoe asks if Friday's people would eat him. Friday says that they would not because he would tell them how Crusoe saved his life, which would make them love him.

Crusoe thinks that if he could join up with the seventeen white men who live in Friday's country, he might have a better chance of getting back to Europe. He shows Friday his canoe and asks if they could reach Friday's homeland in it. Friday lets him know that such a canoe is too small for such a journey. Crusoe then shows Friday the larger boat he made that he was never able to get into the water. Crusoe has not taken care of the boat for the last twenty-three years. It has cracked in the sun and gone rotten. Friday says that they could reach his country in a large boat like that in which they could carry a large amount of food.

Friday and Crusoe build another boat, as large as the one that Crusoe built before. This time, Crusoe realizes that they need to use a tree that is not very far from the water so that it will not be so difficult to move it there after it is finished. Friday selects the best tree to make the boat from, a kind of tree with which Crusoe is not familiar. After the boat is finished, Crusoe and Friday move it on wooden rollers to the water. Crusoe plans to leave when the dry season returns in November. He begins to gather provisions for their journey.

One day, Crusoe sends Friday to the beach to get a turtle which will provide them with meat and eggs for their journey. Friday returns very quickly. He says that three canoes are coming. He is very frightened because he thinks that the cannibals in the canoes are coming to get him as punishment for his having escaped from them before. Crusoe points out that his life is in danger too. He says that he will protect Friday if Friday agrees to protect him. Friday promises to do that. From a hill, Crusoe sees that twenty-one cannibals have come to the island. They are nearer to his home than any cannibals have ever come before and are very near to a wood that comes down almost to the sea. At first, Crusoe is so angry that cannibals plan to eat human flesh near to his home that he is determined to kill them all. He then calms down and again reasons that it is God's place, not his, to judge those people. He decides to just observe the cannibals and only take action against them if it is necessary.

Crusoe rescues the Spanish prisoner while Friday continues attacking the cannibals. Illustration from an 1868 Polish edition of Robinson Crusoe.

Crusoe and Friday, both heavily armed, go to the edge of the wood. Crusoe asks Friday to tell him what he can see. Friday says that the cannibals are eating one of their prisoners and are preparing to kill a second one. The second prisoner is a white bearded man. he is one of the seventeen shipwrecked sailors who live in Friday's country. When Crusoe sees that the cannibals have a European prisoner, he is very angry. He begins shooting at the cannibals and orders Friday to do the same. Crusoe and Friday kill and wound several cannibals from their hiding place in the wood. They then emerge. Friday continues shooting at the cannibals. Crusoe frees the prisoner from the bonds that tie his hands and feet. In response to questions that Crusoe asks him in Portuguese, the prisoner replies that he is Spanish. Crusoe gives the Spaniard his sword and a pistol. Although he is weak as a result of his captivity, the Spaniard joins Crusoe and Friday in the fight against the cannibals. Between them, Crusoe, Friday and the Spaniard kill all the cannibals apart from four who escape in a canoe.

Friday says that the four cannibals who are escaping will come back with more unless they are killed first. He says that he and Crusoe should get in another canoe and chase after them. Crusoe gets into one of the canoes that the cannibals have left behind. He sees that there is another prisoner in there. Crusoe removes the bonds from the man's hands and feet. The prisoner still appears to be very frightened, apparently believing that Crusoe will eat him. Crusoe asks Friday to speak to the man in his own language. Friday is overcome with joy when he sees the man. He is Friday's father. Crusoe and Friday do not go to sea in pursuit of the cannibals. This is fortunate because a very bad storm starts soon afterwards.

Friday's father and the Spaniard are brought back to Crusoe's home. Friday acts as interpreter when Crusoe speaks, the Spaniard is able to understand the language of Friday's people quite well. Crusoe asks Friday's father if he thinks that the four cannibals who have escaped will come back with more. Friday's father says that he does not think so. The cannibals believed Crusoe and Friday to be powerful spirits rather than people. If the four cannibals have survived the storm, when they return home, they will say that all of their companions were killed by thunder sent by the gods. This turns out to be true. The cannibals come to believe that the island is bewitched and never visit it again.

From the Spaniard, Crusoe learns that it would not be a good idea for him to travel to Friday's country. That is because the Spaniard and the sixteen other Spanish and Portuguese shipwrecked sailors who have been living in that land with him lead a miserable life there. They have no weapons and hardly any food or clothes. Crusoe asks the Spaniard if he and the other sixteen men would be willing to accept his leadership and attempt to sail to a European colony together. Crusoe fears that he may be taken prisoner or even handed over to the Inquisition as soon as he reaches a Spanish colony. The Spaniard assures Crusoe that his sixteen comrades would obey him and would not ill treat him or betray him.

Friday's father and the Spaniard leave the island. Illustration from an 1868 Polish edition of Robinson Crusoe.

Preparations begin to be made to bring the other sixteen European men over to Crusoe's island. The Spaniard then points out that Crusoe does not have enough barley or rice to feed sixteen more men on his island or to provide for a long sea voyage. Crusoe has to admit that this is true. As a result, the Spaniard and Friday's father stay on the island for another six months to help rectify the situation. Crusoe, the Spaniard, Friday and Friday's father prepare more fields in which rice and barley can be grown. When harvest time comes, there is a bumper crop that is sufficient to provide for twenty men on a long sea journey. The Spaniard and Friday's father then leave the island in one of the canoes that the cannibals left behind. They are each given a gun, enough food for their journey and some extra food for the castaway's in Friday's country.

Eight days later, Friday excitedly comes running up to Crusoe and says, "they are come, they are come". From the top of a hill, Crusoe sees what appears to be an English ship. Crusoe is somewhat worried because his island is not near to any part of the world to which the British normally go. He fears that those on board the ship may be up to no good. A long-boat comes from the ship to the island. Eleven men disembark, three of those men are clearly prisoners of the others. The other men intend to leave the prisoners marooned on the island and then go. Their long-boat, however, gets caught in muddy sand at low tide. They decide to stay on the island until the next high tide. Crusoe knows that will not be for another ten hours. In the hot afternoon, most of the men go into the wood to sleep.

Crusoe then approaches the prisoners. He speaks to them in Spanish at first but then finds out that they are English too. The three men are the former captain of the ship, his first-mate and a passenger. The other men on the ship had risen up in mutiny against them. The captain goes on to say that the mutineers only took two guns with them to the island and that they left one of them in the long-boat. Crusoe says that he will help the captain to recover his ship if he will then take him and Friday back to England free of charge. The captain happily agrees to this condition. He says that two of the mutineers on the island are ringleaders of the mutiny and are dangerous criminals who need to be killed, the rest can be taken prisoner. Crusoe gives the captain, the first-mate and the passenger guns.

The mutineers are taken by surprise. The two ringleaders are killed and the rest are taken prisoner. They all agree to give up their mutiny and accept the captain's command again. Crusoe, however, insists that they be bound hand and foot while they are on the island.

The captain says that he does not know how they will recover the ship because there are still twenty-six mutineers on board it. Crusoe then says that other mutineers will probably soon come to the island to see what has happened to their comrades. They will probably come bearing weapons and be impossible to defeat. Crusoe goes on to say that they should first render the long-boat useless to the mutineers. The food and rum are taken out of the long-boat, its mast, sail, oars and rudder are removed and large hole is knocked in its bottom. It is also moved further up the beach so that the tide will not carry it away.

Eventually, ten more armed men leave the ship in another long-boat to see what has happened to their shipmates. Crusoe and the captain watch them through a telescope. The captain says that three of them are honest men who were forced into the mutiny. As the long-boat approaches, two prisoners that the captain mistrust more than the others are taken to the cave near Crusoe's second home. From there, they will be less likely to hear the other mutineers call out to them. Three of the prisoners are released because they have agreed to join Crusoe and the captain in the fight to regain the ship. The remaining prisoners are left in Crusoe's first home.

The mutineers come ashore. They see the damaged long-boat. They call out for their comrades and fire their pistols as a signal to them. They receive no response. They go back to the ship. Shortly afterwards, however, after having obviously consulted with the other mutineers on the ship, the same ten men come back to the island again. This time, three men stay in the long-boat. After the other seven men get out of the long-boat, the three men row it away from the shore.

Some of the mutineers are taken by surprise. Illustration by Carl Offterdinger and Walter Zweigle from a late 19th century German edition of Robinson Crusoe'.

For a while, Crusoe is at a loss as to what to do. After night has fallen, he tells Friday and the first-mate to go to the part of the island to which Friday was brought as a prisoner of the cannibals. They then call out, "Halloo", to get the mutineers to come towards them. The seven mutineers follow the call. They come to the creek which, due to the tide, they cannot cross. The seven mutineers then call out to the three men in the long-boat to come over and get them across the creek. One man then gets out of the boat and leaves with the other seven. Crusoe, the captain and the other men at their command then take the two men in the boat by surprise. The captain knocks one of them unconscious with the butt of his rifle and orders the other man to surrender. He is one of the honest men that the captain spoke of earlier. He surrenders and joins the captain's effort to recover the ship.

Friday and the first-mate keep moving to different parts of the island and keep calling out, "Halloo", to get the mutineers to come to them. Eventually, the mutineers, who are beginning to think that the island is bewitched by that time, are led back to the creek and see the empty boat. Crusoe and the other men under his command come closer to the mutineers but remain in hiding. Not wanting to miss the opportunity to do so, the captain shoots two leaders of the mutiny dead. The former mutineer, who had been in the boat and who has now joined Crusoe and the captain, calls out to the remaining mutineers. He tells them that the captain has fifty armed men with him. The captain then tells the mutineers that the island they have come to is not uninhabited. He says that it is governed by an Englishman who can hang them all for mutiny if they do not surrender immediately. The mutineers surrender. Crusoe keeps out of sight in order to keep up the fiction that he is the governor of the island, something that the mutineers would not believe if they saw him in his goatskin clothes.

At the captain's suggestion, three recently arrived ringleaders of the mutiny are separated from the other prisoners and kept in the cave near Crusoe's second home. The captain tells the other prisoners that they may be pardoned if they join him in his fight to recapture the ship. They gladly agree. Five of those prisoners remain behind on the island as hostages. The damaged long-boat having been repaired, the captain, the first-mate, the passenger and the former mutineers return to the ship in the two long-boats. They retake the ship. The mutineer who set himself up as captain is killed. The other members of the crew surrender.

The following morning, the captain returns to the island. He tells Crusoe that the ship is now at his disposal and can take him wherever he wants to go in the world. The captain also thanks Crusoe by giving him several presents, including many new clothes.

The captain still thinks that five ringleaders of the mutiny cannot be trusted. He does not, however, want them to be hanged for mutiny. Crusoe says that he can persuade the men to volunteer to stay on the island. The five men are brought to Crusoe. In his new clothes, Crusoe could easily pass for the governor of the island. Crusoe tells the men that, as governor of the island, he could hang them as pirates. They have, however, a chance to live. Crusoe says that he is leaving the island and is taking all of his men with him. The five men can stay behind on the deserted island and try to make a life for themselves there. They agree to this proposition.

The following day, Crusoe sees the five men again. He tells them the truth about himself and his time on the island. He tells them how to make unleavened bread, how to make raisins, how to look after the goats and how to make butter and cheese. He leaves them his guns and his sword. He also gets the captain to supply them with more gunpowder and more seeds so that they can grow more crops. Crusoe also tells the five men about the seventeen Spanish and Portuguese castaways who may be coming to the island. He tells them to treat the Spanish and Portuguese sailors well.

Crusoe and Friday prepare to leave the island. Illustration from an 1868 Polish edition of Robinson Crusoe.

The ship leaves the island on December 19, 1686, more than twenty-eight years after Crusoe arrived on it. Crusoe takes one of his parrots with him and takes his goatskin cap and his umbrella as souvenirs. He also takes all the money that he salvaged both from his own shipwreck and from the wreck of the Spanish ship, Friday accompanies Crusoe. As the ship sails away, three of the prisoners who had been left behind on the island swim out to it. They beg to be let on board the ship, even if it means they have to be hanged, because they are so frightened of the other two prisoners. The captain allows them to come on board, although he has them whipped for their crime.

After a long voyage, Crusoe arrives in England on June 11, 1687. He has been away from the country for thirty-five years. He finds that both of his parents are dead and, because he was long given up for dead also, he has no inheritance. He is, however, given two hundred pounds by the owners of the ship on which he sailed back to England as a reward for helping to recover it from the mutineers.

Crusoe wants to find out if he can reclaim his sugar plantation in Brazil. Accompanied by Friday, he goes to Portugal to see if he can get any further information there. In Lisbon, he finds that his old friend the Portuguese sea captain, who rescued him when he escaped from slavery many years earlier, is still alive. The old captain tells Crusoe that, since his death was never proven, he can reclaim the plantation and he does not need to travel to Brazil in order to do so. Eventually Crusoe receives the profits that are owed to him from his plantation in the form of gold and various goods worth five thousand pounds.

Rather than going back to Brazil, Crusoe decides to return to England. He feels strangely uneasy about traveling back to England by sea. He thinks about traveling back on two different ships but then changes his mind and stays in Lisbon. One of those ships is attacked by Algerian pirates and the other is wrecked in a storm. The sea captain advises Crusoe to make as much of his homeward journey as possible by land through Spain and France. Crusoe and Friday join up with several English and Portuguese merchants who are making the same journey.

Winter comes on early that year. Heavy snowfall in the Pyrenees makes crossing from Spain to France impossible. Crusoe and the merchants are forced to stay in Pamplona for several days. They then meet some French merchants who were able to cross into Spain because they had a guide who could lead them through the parts of the mountains that were least affected by snow. Crusoe and his companions are put in contact with the guide. He advises them to carry guns so that they can protect themselves from wolves and bears.

One evening, three wolves and a bear suddenly rush out from a wood. One of the wolves attacks the guide, biting him in the arm and the leg. Friday bravely goes up to the wolf and kills it by shooting it in the head.

Friday lures the bear to its death. Illustration by Alexander Frank Lydon from an 1865 British edition of Robinson Crusoe.

Although the bear is not interested in the men and, therefore, poses no threat to them, Friday decides to amuse the others by showing them how bears are killed in his own country. He throws a stone at the bear to make it angry. He climbs up a tree, leaving his rifle at the foot of it. The bear follows him. Friday jumps up and down on a bough. This makes the bear move too and makes it look as if the animal is dancing. Friday then starts to climb down the tree. The bear follows him. Friday then grabs his rifle and kills the bear by shooting it in its ear. Friday explains that in his own country they use long arrows rather than guns.

Crusoe and his traveling companions have to fight off many more wolves before they arrive at the village where they are to spend the night. Due to the severity of the wounds that the guide received when the wolf attacked him, he cannot continue with the journey. Crusoe and the other men find another guide in the village who leads them safely to Toulouse. The remainder of Crusoe's journey back to England passes without incident.

When he returns to England, Crusoe sells his sugar plantation in Brazil. He marries and has three children. He often thinks about going back to sea, however, and wants to see his island again.

After his wife dies, Crusoe sails back to the Caribbean and returns to his island. He takes an English carpenter and smith with him who are to settle on the island. Crusoe finds that the two former mutineers are still living there and the seventeen Spanish and Portuguese sailors have settled there too. Some of the Spanish and Portuguese sailors abducted women from the mainland and there are now about twenty children on the island. Crusoe later has some cows, sheep and pigs sent over to the island from Brazil. He sends seven women from Brazil to the island too and promises the former mutineers that he will arrange for women to come over from England for them.

Crusoe concludes his narrative by saying that he has more adventures to relate in a future book.

Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Defoe, first published on 25 April 1719. The first edition credited the work’s protagonist Robinson Crusoe as its author, leading many readers to believe he was a real person and the book a travelogue of true incidents.
Epistolary, confessional, and didactic in form, the book is presented as an autobiography of the title character (whose birth name is Robinson Kreutznaer) a castaway who spends 28 years on a remote tropical desert island near the coasts of Venezuela and Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers, before ultimately being rescued. The story has been thought to be based on the life of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish castaway who lived for four years on a Pacific island called “Mas a Tierra”, now part of Chile, which was renamed Robinson Crusoe Island in 1966.

Robinson Crusoe Holidays

Despite its simple narrative style, Robinson Crusoe was well received in the literary world and is often credited as marking the beginning of realistic fiction as a literary genre. It is generally seen as a contender for the first English novel. Before the end of 1719, the book had already run through four editions, and it has gone on to become one of the most widely published books in history, spawning so many imitations, not only in literature but also in film, television, and radio, that its name is used to define a genre, the Robinsonade.
Robinson Crusoe is an English man from the town of York in the seventeenth century, the youngest son of a merchant of German origin. Encouraged by his father to study law, Crusoe expresses his wish to go to sea instead. His family is against Crusoe going out to sea, and his father explains that it is better to seek a modest, secure life for oneself. Initially, Robinson is committed to obeying his father, but he eventually succumbs to temptation and embarks on a ship bound for London with a friend. When a storm causes the near deaths of Crusoe and his friend, the friend is dissuaded from sea travel, but Crusoe still goes on to set himself up as a merchant on a ship leaving London.

Robinson Crusoe Holidays

This trip is financially successful, and Crusoe plans another, leaving his early profits in the care of a friendly widow. The second voyage does not prove as fortunate: the ship is seized by Moorish pirates, and Crusoe is enslaved to a potentate in the North African town of Sallee. While on a fishing expedition, he and a slave boy break free and sail down the African coast. A kindly Portuguese captain picks them up, buys the slave boy from Crusoe, and takes Crusoe to Brazil. In Brazil, Crusoe establishes himself as a plantation owner and soon becomes successful. Eager for slave labor and its economic advantages, he embarks on a slave-gathering expedition to West Africa but ends up shipwrecked off of the coast of Trinidad.
Crusoe soon learns he is the sole survivor of the expedition and seeks shelter and food for himself. He returns to the wreck’s remains twelve times to salvage guns, powder, food, and other items. Onshore, he finds goats he can graze for meat and builds himself a shelter. He erects a cross that he inscribes with the date of his arrival, September 1, 1659, and makes a notch every day in order never to lose track of time. He also keeps a journal of his household activities, noting his attempts to make candles, his lucky discovery of sprouting grain, and his construction of a cellar, among other events. In June 1660, he falls ill and hallucinates that an angel visits, warning him to repent. Drinking tobacco-steeped rum, Crusoe experiences a religious illumination and realizes that God has delivered him from his earlier sins. After recovering, Crusoe makes a survey of the area and discovers he is on an island. He finds a pleasant valley abounding in grapes, where he builds a shady retreat.
Crusoe begins to feel more optimistic about being on the island, describing himself as to its “king.” He trains a pet parrot, takes a goat as a pet, and develops skills in basket weaving, bread making, and pottery. He cuts down an enormous cedar tree and builds a huge canoe from its trunk, but he discovers that he cannot move it to the sea. After building a smaller boat, he rows around the island but nearly perishes when swept away by a powerful current. Reaching shore, he hears his parrot calling his name and is thankful for being saved once again. He spends several years in peace.

Robinson Crusoe Holidays

One day Crusoe is shocked to discover a man’s footprint on the beach. He first assumes the footprint is the devil’s, then decides it must belong to one of the cannibals said to live in the region. Terrified, he arms himself and remains on the lookout for cannibals. He also builds an underground cellar in which to herd his goats at night and devises a way to cook underground. One evening he hears gunshots, and the next day he is able to see a shipwrecked on his coast. It is empty when he arrives on the scene to investigate. Crusoe once again thanks Providence for having been saved. Soon afterward, Crusoe discovers that the shore has been strewn with human carnage, apparently the remains of a cannibal feast. He is alarmed and continues to be vigilant.
Later Crusoe catches sight of thirty cannibals heading for shore with their victims. One of the victims is killed. Another one, waiting to be slaughtered, suddenly breaks free and runs toward Crusoe’s dwelling. Crusoe protects him, killing one of the pursuers and injuring the other, whom the victim finally kills. Well-armed, Crusoe defeats most of the cannibals onshore. The victim vows total submission to Crusoe in gratitude for his liberation. Crusoe names him Friday, to commemorate the day on which his life was saved, and takes him as his servant.
Finding Friday cheerful and intelligent, Crusoe teaches him some English words and some elementary Christian concepts. Friday, in turn, explains that the cannibals are divided into distinct nations and that they only eat their enemies. Friday also informs Crusoe that the cannibals saved the men from the shipwreck Crusoe witnessed earlier and that those men, Spaniards, are living nearby. Friday expresses a longing to return to his people, and Crusoe is upset at the prospect of losing Friday.
Crusoe then entertains the idea of making contact with the Spaniards, and Friday admits that he would rather die than lose Crusoe. The two build a boat to visit the cannibals’ land together. Before they have a chance to leave, they are surprised by the arrival of twenty-one cannibals in canoes. The cannibals are holding three victims, one of whom is in European dress. Friday and Crusoe kill most of the cannibals and release the European, a Spaniard. Friday is overjoyed to discover that another of the rescued victims is his father. The four men return to Crusoe’s dwelling for food and rest. Crusoe prepares to welcome them into his community permanently. He sends Friday’s father and the Spaniard out in a canoe to explore the nearby land.
Eight days later, the sight of approaching English ship alarms Friday. Crusoe is suspicious. Friday and Crusoe watch as eleven men take three captives onshore in a boat. Nine of the men explore the land, leaving two to guard the captives. Friday and Crusoe overpower these men and release the captives, one of whom is the captain of the ship, which has been taken in a mutiny. Shouting to the remaining mutineers from different points, Friday and Crusoe confuse and tire the men by making them run from place to place. Eventually, they confront the mutineers, telling them that all may escape with their lives except the ringleader. The men surrender. Crusoe and the captain pretend that the island is an imperial territory and that the governor has spared their lives in order to send them all to England to face justice. Keeping five men as hostages, Crusoe sends the other men out to seize the ship. When the ship is brought in, Crusoe nearly faints.
On December 19, 1686, Crusoe boards the ship to return to England. There, he finds his family is deceased except for two sisters. His widow friend has kept Crusoe’s money safe, and after traveling to Lisbon, Crusoe learns from the Portuguese captain that his plantations in Brazil have been highly profitable. He arranges to sell his Brazilian lands. Wary of sea travel, Crusoe attempts to return to England by land but is threatened by bad weather and wild animals in northern Spain.

Robinson Crusoe Holidays

Finally arriving back in England, Crusoe receives word that the sale of his plantations has been completed and that he has made a considerable fortune. After donating a portion to the widow and his sisters, Crusoe is restless and considers returning to Brazil, but he is dissuaded by the thought that he would have to become Catholic. He marries, and his wife dies. Crusoe finally departs for the East Indies as a trader in 1694. He revisits his island, finding that the Spaniards are governing it well and that it has become a prosperous colony.

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The Author of ‘Robinson Crusoe’ Used Almost 200 Pseudonyms

“That horrid place! My very blood chills at the mention of its name,” Moll Flanders, heroine of a novel of the same name, declares of Newgate prison. In fact, its author Daniel Defoe was writing from experience.

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Defoe (whose real name was originally ‘Daniel Foe’) “holds the record of using 198 pseudonyms,” writes scholar Jared C. Calaway. In fact, he only started publishing fiction under his own slightly altered name late in life: he was almost 60 when The Life and Strange Adventures of Robinson Crusoe was published, writes History.com. Defoe honed the writing skills that make Robinson Crusoe endure by writing political pamphlets. He sometimes paid for the privilege of voicing his views–as on this day in 1703, more than 15 years before writing his best-remembered novel, when he was put in the pillory for seditious libel.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the path that led to this point had included a career as a merchant (which ended when he went bankrupt). But as a businessman, he was naturally interested in politics, according to the encyclopedia.

Defoe’s family was part of the Dissenters movement who disagreed with the Anglican church and were politically separate from the mainstream. He wrote political pamphlets espousing his views, using pseudonyms for some of them as a way of avoiding the authorities. One of these pamphlets, The Shortest Way with the Dissenters, landed him in prison and then the pillory.

“This satiric pamphlet had suggested that instead of passing laws against all religious Dissenters–Protestant ‘Noncomformists’ such as Defoe–the quicker, cleaner solution would be to just kill them,” writes Steve King for Today in Literature. “Defoe’s proposal was taken seriously, if not embraced, by many of the Anglican Tories in office when everyone realized that it was a put-on, and that the anonymous author was Defoe, they flushed him from his hiding spot and took revenge for their embarrassment.”

Pillorying was a very public punishment dating back hundreds of years. It involved restraining somebody’s head and hands in a designated punishment area and leaving them there at the mercy of the crowds who gathered. Sometimes, people could be beaten to death or severely hurt by the rocks and other objects thrown at them while they were pilloried.

While Defoe awaited this unpleasant punishment, he composed “ Hymn to the Pillory,” another satire which, the story goes, so pleased the crowds gathered at his punishment site that “instead of throwing stones the crowd drank to Defoe’s health and decorated his pillory in flowers,” as King puts it.

“There were decades of economic and political roller-coaster ahead for Defoe, and a mountain of writing in all genres before the famous novels,” King writes. After leaving prison, he worked as a political writer and spy for Robert Harley, an important literary figure and politician of the era–further honing the pen he would eventually turn to fiction.

About Kat Eschner

Kat Eschner is a freelance science and culture journalist based in Toronto.

Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe [a] ( / ˈ k r uː s oʊ / ) is a novel by Daniel Defoe, first published on 25 April 1719. The first edition credited the work's protagonist Robinson Crusoe as its author, leading many readers to believe he was a real person and the book a travelogue of true incidents. [2]

Epistolary, confessional, and didactic in form, the book is presented as an autobiography of the title character (whose birth name is Robinson Kreutznaer) – a castaway who spends 28 years on a remote tropical desert island near the coasts of Venezuela and Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers, before ultimately being rescued. The story has been thought to be based on the life of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish castaway who lived for four years on a Pacific island called "Más a Tierra", now part of Chile, which was renamed Robinson Crusoe Island in 1966. [3] ( pp23–24 )

Despite its simple narrative style, Robinson Crusoe was well received in the literary world and is often credited as marking the beginning of realistic fiction as a literary genre. It is generally seen as a contender for the first English novel. [4] Before the end of 1719, the book had already run through four editions, and it has gone on to become one of the most widely published books in history, spawning so many imitations, not only in literature but also in film, television, and radio, that its name is used to define a genre, the Robinsonade.

Will’s legacy

This is the extent of the primary sources we have regarding Will. However, two centuries later, it was suggested that Will had been the inspiration for a character named Friday in Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.

Will would not be the only person to become a castaway on the island called Más a Tierra. Twenty years after Will’s rescue, a sailor named Alexander Selkirk was marooned by his captain on Más a Tierra.

Selkirk survived on the island for more than four years when he was finally rescued. It has been suggested that Selkirk’s story was the inspiration for Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.

The validity of the claims that Will and Selkirk were the basis for the first novel ever written remains a controversial subject in literary circles. In 1966 the Chilean government changed the name of Más a Tierra to Robinson Crusoe Island.

Watch the video: Robinson Crusoe - 2nd Edition - How To Play


  1. Ionnes

    they still remind you of the 18th century

  2. Voodooktilar

    Instead of criticising write the variants is better.

  3. Dravin

    hmm come up with

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