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Robinson Crusoe (Penguin English Library) [Paperback]

Daniel Defoe
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Dec 2012 Penguin English Library

The Penguin English Library Edition of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

'I walk'd about on the shore, lifting up my hands, and my whole being, as I may say, wrapt up in the contemplation of my deliverance ... reflecting upon all my comrades that were drown'd, and that there should not be one soul sav'd but my self ... '

Who has not dreamed of life on an exotic isle, far away from civilization? Here is the novel which has inspired countless imitations by lesser writers, none of which equal the power and originality of Defoe's famous book. Robinson Crusoe, set ashore on an island after a terrible storm at sea, is forced to make do with only a knife, some tobacco, and a pipe. He learns how to build a canoe, make bread, and endure endless solitude. That is, until, twenty-four years later, when he confronts another human being. First published in 1719, Robinson Crusoe has been praised by such writers as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Johnson as one of the greatest novels in the English language.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

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Robinson Crusoe (Penguin English Library) + Gulliver's Travels (Wordsworth Classics) + Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn (Wordsworth Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (6 Dec 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141199067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141199061
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 594,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


“Martin Shaw convincingly recounts this story which, above all, describes the strength the human spirit can muster under desperate circumstances.”
Sunday Times 19/1/97

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

First published in 1719, 'Robinson Crusoe' is the story of an adventurous young man who ignores the sound and sensible advice of his father and sets off to see the world. However, Crusoe's ship founders in a storm, and he is the only survivor. Washed ashore on a desert island, he is faced with the challenge of providing food and shelter for himself, and is forced to invent afresh many things that he had previously taken for granted. Long years of hardship and struggle follow, but eventually Crusoe becomes contented with his lot, proud of the kingdom that he has created for himself. Then, one day, he discovers that he is not alone on the island.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First, Lost, But Not Least! 25 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase

Almost three centuries have passed since `Robinson Crusoe' was first published in 1719. In that time, the novel has arguably become a victim of its own success. So many times has the tale been told and re-told, that we all seem to assume that we know the story* and therefore neglect the original novel itself. In short, `Robinson Crusoe' has become immortalised by being condensed into a simplistic plot summary: "The book about the man who gets stranded on a desert island." This over-simplification has been intensified by the countless other `classic' novels which have been heavily influenced by `Robinson Crusoe'. These include, Johan Weiss's `Swiss Family Robinson' (1812), R. M. Ballantyne's `The Coral Island' (1857), Jules Verne's `The Mysterious Island' (1874), and R. L. Stevenson's `Treasure Island' (1883) to name but a few. In more recent years, the film `Castaway' and television's `LOST' have dealt with the book's central theme. Even the great Laurel & Hardy got in on the act in 1951 with their final film, `Atoll K', which was released under various titles including 'Robinson Crusoe Land'. In fact, so familiar have we become with the premise of `Robinson Crusoe', that we risk losing sight of what a truly great and relevant book it is.

* For the purposes of this review, I have deliberately avoided telling the story where possible.

In his 2011 BBC Television series devoted to seminal fictional characters, Sebastian Faulks chose to begin with none other than RC. Perhaps the greatest appeal of the character is his humility (The story is narrated in the first-person and Crusoe's tone throughout is highly self-critical.) and resourcefulness.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great story between pages 60 and 200 20 Feb 2012
I read what I thought was Robinson Crusoe as a child (and loved it) but that first version left out half the story (which turns out wasn't a bad thing). The story isn't really about a man being marooned on an island (though of course he is marooned for decades). It's really about one man's internal journey and how his view of life and himself change because he's forced by his solitary state to think about his past actions and the consequences of them. To me the interesting story starts about page 60 and ends soon after 200 while he's still alone on the island, before Friday the rather annoying saved cannibal-servant appears on the scene or the fantastical rescue.

After reading about the real man who inspired the story, Alexander Selkirk, I can't help wishing that Defoe had interviewed the man and then wrote the man's real story. It would have been equally bizarre, but more believable (particularly the real man's inability to settle back into Society - he lived in a cave for a while, married twice, but could only bear the married state for a very short time before running off...eventually back to sea where he died probably hoping to return to the island where he was happy with his goats and cats).

If you enjoy the history of words or getting into the head of an early 18th century man this can be an interesting book. If you like a story that flows smoothly and makes sense and has a sensible might want to watch a movie version.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A captivating read 17 May 2005
What a wonderfully entertaining story. And so refreshingly politically incorrect. We all know the gist of the story - some poor fellow marooned on an uninhabited island - but until just now I'd never read the original work. I didn't know how Crusoe came to be there or how he was eventually "delivered" and what became of him. I loved it.

Admittedly there were tiresome interludes - so many of them - when Crusoe turns to God, prays to God, questions God, loses faith, regains faith and preaches to the reader, but even these were quite profound in a self-help manual kind of way. Then there was Crusoe's post-Friday obnoxious, imperious behaviour. I almost laughed out loud when the first words Crusoe taught Friday were to call him "Master". Having said this he does learn to love Friday, albeit as a man loves his dog. He always called him a "savage" too. Also his famous slave-trading, kitten-drowning and bear-baiting escapades hardly endear him to the reader. What a guy! But I shouldn't really judge him (and he's fictional, though based on a Mr Selkirk) by today's standards.

A few points of interest I noted: I thought it very strange how lenient Crusoe was to the mutineers who landed on his shore with their prisoner, their deposed captain, whose name, incidentally, we never learn. He not only taught them all he had learnt as regards how to survive, but gave them supplies from the captain's ship and promised to send a ship to relieve them later! This he later did, bringing more slaves (presumably) and supplies. He also left them all his money. He also left the Spaniards on the mainland in the lurch and to the mercy of the now gun-toting mutineers. Why didn't he wait a while? Oh, and he hardly mentions God again as soon as he's safely away from the island.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An example of the English novel in its infancy 28 July 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Robinson Crusoe is one of the first English novels. Written by Daniel DeFoe in the early 18th century during the rise of economic theory, this book chronicles the struggle of an economic hero shipwrecked on an island. He takes advantage of people, always looking to make money or increase economic value. Although Crusoe has religious experiences and gets preachy at times (DeFoe was of Puritan stock at a time when Puritanism was a significant force), Crusoe is a practical man. He does not let morals get in the way of carving out a prosperous life -- there are scenes where the main character is no role model. The novel is episodic, with Crusoe hopping from one scene to another. The narration isn't smooth. However, the "flaws" when compared to later writings may be forgiven because Robinson Crusoe is an early novel. Writers had not worked out the fine points of the genre. DeFoe is an important early English novelist who cobbled together economic theory, religious opinion, travel writing, and borrowed material from a contemporary shipwreck victim to create a work of fiction. Robinson Crusoe is often mislabelled as a childrens book. Perhaps in a watered down abridgement, it is a good children's book. The original, complete, unabridged work is a literary classic that should be read by any student of English literature.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It is a present for my grand son, I hope he enjoys it
Published 15 days ago by Sue Millbourn
4.0 out of 5 stars One man who is not alone!
I first heard about Robinson Crusoe through elementary economics textbooks - it was used as a byword for an economic model of autarchy. That was many many years ago. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Penguin
5.0 out of 5 stars good read
Fantastic read and not too heavy. It's easy to get lost within the book I read it in a day couldn't put it down.
Published 4 months ago by Gemma-marie
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
This book is good for persons studying at university or further education as there are helpful notes in the back of the book.
Would recommend to a friend
Published 4 months ago by S Noak
1.0 out of 5 stars I don't like this book
This book is too long and the words are all way to complicated. I didn't enjoy this book at all.
Published 5 months ago by Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars an adventure, but also a spiritual journey
I have been meaning to read this book for years, fascinated as I have been with the various film versions. Read more
Published 5 months ago by rob crawford
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure.
My eight yr old granddaughter just read "Gullivers Travels" and I know that she will love this book too! Great!
Published 7 months ago by A. A. James
5.0 out of 5 stars Robinson Crusoe
I love that a book that's 300 yrs old can still be a great read. It's tough going sometimes because of the old writing style but well worth it! Read more
Published 8 months ago by benjamin james christmas
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull, dull, dull
Literally one of the worst books I have ever read. The s star reviews are absurd and can only be a result of the Emperor's Clothes syndrome. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Kahuna
5.0 out of 5 stars a great copy of my favourite book of all time,
good printing, nice cover art and page layout- it does the fantastic story within it justice, that can certainly be said.
Published 13 months ago by Josh
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