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Robinson Crusoe

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Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Defoe. It was published in London on 25 April 1719. The story is about an Englishman who survives a shipwreck and lives on a remote and lonely Caribbean isle. He encounters pirates and cannibals. The novel was a great success (early readers believed it was a true story), and is still popular. It has been adapted to movies and television many times.

Background[edit | edit source]

The novel may have been based on the life of Alexander Selkirk, a Scotsman who lived on an isle in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile for four years. Another possible 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". Another source may be an account by Henry Pitman, an escapee from a Caribbean prison colony, who was shipwrecked and survived on a desert island.

By the end of the 19th century, no book in the history of Western literature had more editions, spin-offs and translations (even into languages such as Inuktitut, Coptic and Maltese) than Robinson Crusoe, with more than 700 such alternative versions, including children's versions with mainly pictures and no text. It is often credited as marking the beginning of realistic fiction as a literary genre.

Story[edit | edit source]

Daniel Defoe

The novel tells the story of an Englishman named Robinson Crusoe. He is shipwrecked on a Caribbean island. He builds a shelter and learns to find food. His only friend is a castaway Indian native he names Friday. Crusoe is finally rescued by a passing ship after 28 years of solitude.

Adaptations[edit | edit source]

The novel has been made into movies and television serials a number of times. Notable movies include a 1954 version starring Dan O'Herlihy, and Walt Disney's modern version, Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N. starring Dick Van Dyke. In 1964 a French production crew made a 13-part television serial called The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.


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