Robinson Crusoe (The Penguin English Library) Paperback – 2 Jul 2007
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"Beyond the end of "Robinson Crusoe" is a new world of fiction. Even though it did not know itself to be a 'novel, ' and even though there were books that we might now call 'novels' published before it, "Robinson Crusoe" has made itself into a prototype . . . Perhaps because of all the novels that we have read . . . the novelty of Defoe's fiction is the more striking when we return to it. Here it is, at the beginning of things, with its final word reaching out into the future." -from the Introduction by John Mullan
"From the Hardcover edition." --from the Introduction by John Mullan --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
The legendary story of a marine adventurer shipwrecked on a desert island --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product description
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I personally always enjoy reading this particular novel, although I would never get on a boat if the name Robinson Crusoe was to appear on the passenger or crew lists. If you wonder why because you have not read this before, then I think in the first few chapters you will get some idea, because although the most famous part of the story is his adventures as a castaway, he also before then gets taken as a slave and has ships that he sails on floundering into trouble.
On first publication this was certainly well received, and it is quite realistic. Written in the first person we read of how Crusoe grew up and wanted a bit of adventure, and even later in the story when we can see that he can clearly settle and take up life running his plantation he does not do so, still craving other experiences.
Although nowadays most people think there is only one influence on this book being written, that of the tale of Alexander Selkirk, if you actually look at the period you will find that there were many tales of very real castaways, along with other sources that were just as likely to be major influences on this tale. Although we read of the trials and tribulations of living what is at the start a very isolated existence there is also a strong undercurrent that runs through this that takes in both religious and philosophical elements. After all as Crusoe points out himself, he has money with him on the island, but of what use is it, as there is no one to buy things from? Such things are raised, which gives this a much greater depth than probably most people realise.
Some have seen in this story the attitude of the Colonists that left these shores to live in for instance America, but on a larger scale than that you can also see how us living in the Western World changed from hunting, to add agriculture and then settling and having to organise more complex matters, after all Crusoe has to divide his time in the right way, with the correct amount of time exerted on different issues, such as growing food as well as hunting for it, and building and maintaining shelter and other such items.
In all this is a well written book that has definitely stood the test of time, and at the basic level we have not altered from when this was first written, thus this still calls to us all, giving us a powerful and thoughtful read.
Fast forward sixty years and I thought I should give it another try. I now find it very readable, interesting and even enjoyable. So never say never! The version I bought is from the hard cover, Collectors' Library edition. These books are a handy pocket size and smart looking with gilt edged pages, a page saver ribbon, and a durable spine. On the down side, the print is necessarily small and some may have difficulty with this size font. Maybe a touch expensive at £8.99, when you can get a paperback copy for £2.00 or less, but okay if you intend to keep it.
Imagine audio documenting all the happenstance of your average day - swept carpet, washed dishes, went to toilet, etc, etc.
And repeating that for chapter after chapter after chapter after chapter ....
Occasionally adding in a reading from a Jehovah's Witness pamphlet that had come through the door.
That would be equivalent to much of what this offering comprises.
And Tom Casaletto may well be an estimable voice actor in his own milieu, but as a purveyor of an "English" accent and style of reading he is toe-curling.
Robinson Crusoe can be read on several levels butI found most interesting the social interaction with his peers. Curiously, he merely mentions in passing that he is a slave owner and yet has a great admiration for the intelligence of Friday.
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