Robinson Crusoe Published
The 25th of April 1719 AD
Daniel Defoe’s literary output nearly rivals that of Enid Blyton , but it was not until he was 60 that he produced the book for which he will always be remembered: Robinson Crusoe, published in London on April 25 1719 by William Taylor of Paternoster Row.
Crusoe ran to four editions in its first year. The story had and still has instant appeal to the curious reader: all who turn the novel’s pages wonder how they would fare alone on a desert island, engaging with the efforts of the shipwrecked adventurer to survive and eventually thrive on his island near the Orinoco’s mouth.
It is widely accepted that the story of Alexander Selkirk , marooned on an island, though for four years rather than Crusoe’s 28, inspired or at least informed the work; other sources have been suggested too, but for most who read the book that is academic, compared to the gripping story of Crusoe’s life from boyhood in York , through slavery in North Africa, success in Brazil, and the most memorable episode, shipwreck for half a lifetime.
Daniel Defoe ’s life prior to the enormous success of Robinson Crusoe had not been without event: he joined the Monmouth rebellion , but unlike many others was pardoned for doing so. He was pilloried (and not metaphorically) and imprisoned for his writings; and was a mercer and general merchant though he built up debts rather than a fortune in those trades. As a writer he was definitely a late developer, his second great novel Moll Flanders appearing three years after Crusoe.
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