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Robinson Crusoe (Vintage Classics) [Paperback]

Daniel Defoe
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Nov 2008 Vintage Classics
Robinson Crusoe runs away from home to join the navy. After a series of adventures at sea, he is shipwrecked in a devastating storm, and finds himself alone on a remote desert island. He remains there many years, building a life for himself in solitude, until the day he discovers another man's footprint in the sand...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; Reprint edition (6 Nov 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099511843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099511847
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 12.5 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 627,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Daniel Defoe was a Londoner, born in 1660 at St Giles, Cripplegate, and son of James Foe, a tallow-chandler. He changed his name to Defoe from c. 1695. He was educated for the Presbyterian Ministry at Morton's Academy for Dissenters at Newington Green, but in 1682 he abandoned this plan and became a hosiery merchant in Cornhill. After serving briefly as a soldier in the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion, he became well established as a merchant and travelled widely in England, as well as on the Continent.

Between 1697 and 1701 he served as a secret agent for William III in England and Scotland, and between 1703 and 1714 for Harley and other ministers. During the latter period he also, single-handed, produced the Review, a pro-government newspaper. A prolific and versatile writer he produced some 500 books on a wide variety of topics, including politics, geography, crime, religion, economics, marriage, psychology and superstition. He delighted in role-playing and disguise, a skill he used to great effect as a secret agent, and in his writing he often adopted a pseudonym or another personality for rhetorical impact.

His first extant political tract (against James II) was published in 1688, and in 1701 appeared his satirical poem The True-Born Englishman, which was a bestseller. Two years later he was arrested for The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters, an ironical satire on High Church extremism, committed to Newgate and pilloried. He turned to fiction relatively late in life and in 1719 published his great imaginative work, Robinson Crusoe. This was followed in 1722 by Moll Flanders and A Journal of the Plague Year, and in 1724 by his last novel, Roxana.

His other works include A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain, a guide-book in three volumes (1724-6; abridged Penguin edition, 1965), The Complete English Tradesman (1726), Augusta Triumphans, (1728), A Plan of the English Commerce (1728) and The Complete English Gentleman (not published until 1890). He died on 24 April 1731. Defoe had a great influence on the development of the English novel and many consider him to be the first true novelist.

Product Description


"Never since childhood have I been so thoroughly immersed in a book" (Jim Crace Financial Times)

"An 18th-century reader, raised on a high-minded diet of elegy and pastoral, must have felt stunned on first encountering the jagged prose of a Daniel Defoe, with its street-wise populism and delight in the commonplace" (Terry Eagleton)

"Robinson Crusoe has a universal appeal, a story that goes right to the core of existence" (Simon Armitage Guardian)

"Defoe should surely be credited with inventing the English novel" (Mail on Sunday)

"Defoe was an imaginative genius" (John Carey Sunday Times)

Book Description

The legendary story of a marine adventurer shipwrecked on a desert island

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Castaway 19 Dec 2012
I expected Robinson Crusoe to be mostly the long philosophical reflections of an isolated man and was very surprised by how much happens. There are pirates, cannibals, plantations and bears. Robinson spends only around half the book on his famous island and even then we read about his adventures at farming, hunting, pottery etc.

The book is not simply an adventure story however and Robinson's thoughts on life and the divine are dotted throughout. I found these musings to be succinct and interesting giving the book weight.

Perhaps the thing that surprised me most is how clear and readable the language is. I understand that it might be the first English novel but I found it to be more modern than many books written later.

I only read it a couple of months ago and I am eager to read it again already.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect an all out adventure! 9 Aug 2001
By A Customer
Robinson crusoe must be one of the most instantly recogniseable and well known characters ever portrayed in fiction. The basics of the story - Crusoes desertion on a desert island, battle for survival and eventual triumph over adversity, appealing to people of all ages and backgrounds. Yet the archaic writing style can detract from the classic adventure story, as can the lack of real action. Instead the book comes across as a story of human resiliance and spirit, the fact that it is apparently based on the real life experiences of a stranded sailor make the story all the more remarkable. Thought to be the first "novel" ever published it is understandable that the writing does not flow in the same way as contemporary fiction, but the overall sophistication of Defoe's ideas is pleasantly surprising in the context that he HAD no contemporaries to influence him or compare to.
It is the romance of the story line that holds him in our collective consciousness and draws new readers to this book in their droves, but to read it as an adventure story of the "Treasure Island" mould is to miss the point, and will inevitably dissappoint. However, read it as a commentary on humanity and it is immensely valuable and enjoyable.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Survival by Thinking and Doing 26 May 2004
Robinson Crusoe is best taken at two levels, the literal adventure story of survival on an isolated island and as a metaphor for finding one's way through life. I recommend that everyone read the book who is willing to look at both of those levels. If you only want the adventure story, you may not be totally satisfied. The language, circumstances, and attitudes may put you off so that you would prefer to be reading a Western or Space-based adventure story with a more modern perspective.
Few books require anyone to rethink the availability and nature of the fundamentals of life: Water, food, shelter, clothing, and entertainment. Then having become solitary in our own minds as a reader, Defoe adds the extraordinary complication of providing a companion who is totally different from Crusoe. This provides the important opportunity to see Crusoe's civilized limitations compared to Friday's more natural ones. The comparisons will make for thought-provoking reading for those who are able to overcome the stalled thinking that the educated, civilized route is always the best.
One of the things that I specially liked about the book is the Crusoe is an ordinary person in many ways, making lots of mistakes, and having lots of setbacks. Put a modern Superhero (from either the comic books, adventure or spy novels, or the movies) into this situation, and it would all be solved in a few minutes with devices from the heel of one's shoe. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I liked the trial-and-error explorations. They seemed just like everyday life, and made the book's many lessons come home to me in a more fundamental way.
Have a good solitary trip through this book!
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Open your eyes. 14 Oct 2006
Just a quickie. Some of the above reviews remind us of how slow and boring this book can be and how repetitive. Well, guys, that's the point. How exciting do you suppose being stranded alone on an Island can be? What would you do to pass the time? Defoe takes us back to a time before T.V etc. Your day would be boring, although eventually menial tasks save ones sanity. Time does pass slowly as it looses relavance. It's not a classic for nothing.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic 11 Feb 2009
I am not quite sure what the other reviewers of this text expected from the world's oldest English novel. I do feel that they may think that it does not live up to the film / television versions.

However, if one reads from the understanding that this text is almost 300 years old, and that to truly understand it properly, you need an 'AS' or 'A' levels or higher in English; then in the context of the period it stands out as a true work of the writers' art.

If you want a Hollywood romp, then watch the DVD. If you want to learn how and why Daniel Defoe wrote this, then this book is a good place to start, with excellent notes and an introductory essay by Oxford University academics.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent gift 15 July 2011
A beautifully presented book with fantastic drawings. The subject matter is written thoughtfully and at an adult level. As a gift, this worked perfectly.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice copy 24 Jun 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Collectors Edition is nicely produced book, clear print and can be stuffed in a pocket for train journeys too.
A good read though the C17 language is a bit challenging.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars aaarrrrgggg
Published 19 days ago by Vulcanalia
4.0 out of 5 stars Great myth, good story, bad novel?
My original assessment of the book appears in the title but I've added a question mark because rereading it proved to be a different, aesthetically confusing experience. Read more
Published 3 months ago by G. A. Reeves
3.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed Going back to school
Robinson Crusoe was a book we had to read at school, I enjoyed it then and I enjoyed even more this time
Published 4 months ago by Mandy
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected
Considering that there actually isn't much of a plot with this book I was still utterly engaged from beginning to end. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jenny
4.0 out of 5 stars happy to read again
I last read this book over forty years ago, I have just finished reading it again and thoroughly enjoyed it. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ali_M.
4.0 out of 5 stars Adventurer Extraordinaire
Would have awarded five stars but for too many pages devoted to his religious convictions. Crusoe was the original DIY man, adept at everything he tackled. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Rosemary Richardson
5.0 out of 5 stars Robinson Crusoe (Penguin Popular Classics) Daniel Defoe
I last read this about 50 years ago and saw an adaptation of it on TV a couple years ago and felt I would like to read the novel again and I think I enjoyed it even more than when... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Chris Brown
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing edition, not as pictured
The book received was a different cover, much duller with no illustrations which may have been in the hardback version only. Content and condition was OK for a secondhand book
Published 9 months ago by Mary Kidd
3.0 out of 5 stars And again
Comparing both down loads and enjoying revisiting a story which captivated me in my younger days. I did not realise how much I had forgotten
Published 9 months ago by Baz
5.0 out of 5 stars Timely arrival and in good condition
It is an excellent read being an adventure story and insight into the late seventeenth century. Defoe is an excellent novellist
Published 11 months ago by Mrs. S. E. Scanlan
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