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Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Defoe, first published on 25 April 1719. This first edition credited the work's fictional protagonist Robinson Crusoe as its author, leading many readers to believe he was a real person and the book a travelogue of true incidents. It was published under the considerably longer original title 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. Epistolary, confessional, and didactic in form, the book is a fictional autobiography of the title character (whose birth name is Robinson Kreutznaer)—a castaway who spends years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers before being rescued. The story is widely perceived to have been influenced by the life of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish castaway who lived for four years on the Pacific island called "Más a Tierra" (in 1966 its name was changed to Robinson Crusoe Island), Chile. However, other possible sources have been put forward for the text. It is possible, for example, that Defoe was inspired by the Latin or English translations of Ibn Tufail's Hayy ibn Yaqdhan, an earlier novel also set on a desert island. Another source for Defoe's novel may have been Robert Knox's account of his abduction by the King of Ceylon in 1659 in "An Historical Account of the Island Ceylon," Glasgow: James MacLehose and Sons (Publishers to the University), 1911.
reminding us how average he is in being incompetent (‘‘I had never handled a tool in my life’’), and accident prone (‘‘I that was born to be my own destroyer’’), and he is not at all religious until he finds a Bible among the tools and seeds and paraphernalia he rescues from the smashed ship. He survives by growing and maturing; but he does more than survive—he ends by ruling the island, by becoming if not wise, then sensible; by acquiring power and using it with understanding. He progresses
and weep like a child, and thus increase my misery by my folly. But having gotten over these things in some measure and having settled my household stuff and habitation, made me a table and a chair, and all as handsome about me as I could, I began to keep my journal, of which I shall here give you the copy (though in it will be told all these particulars over again) as long as it lasted, for, having no more ink, I was forced to leave it off. The Journal September 30, 1659. I, poor,
silently and smoothly through the world, and comfortably out of it, not embarrassed with the labours of the hands or of the head, not sold to the life of slavery for daily bread, or harassed with perplexed circumstances, which rob the soul of peace and the body of rest; not enraged with the passion of envy, or secret burning lust of ambition for great things; but in easy circumstances sliding gently through the world, and sensibly tasting the sweets of living, without the bitter, feeling that
day great troubles overwhelmed my mind, and in the night I dreamed often of killing the savages, and of the reasons why I might justify the doing of it; but to waive all this for a while; it was in the middle of May, on the sixteenth day, I think, as well as my poor wooden calendar would reckon; for I marked all upon the post still; I say, it was the sixteenth of May that it blew a very great storm of wind all day, with a great deal of lightning and thunder, and a very foul night it was after it;
sometimes I was for making another voyage to the wreck, though my reason told me that there was nothing left there worth the hazard of my voyage, sometimes for a ramble one way, sometimes another; and I believe verily, if I had had the boat that I went from Sallee in, I should have ventured to sea, bound anywhere, I knew not whither. I had been in all my circumstances a memento to those who are touched with the general plague of mankind, whence, for aught I know, one half of their miseries flow;