Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe

To Daniel Defoe often goes the credit for the founding of the modern novel. Even a casual reading of Robinson Crusoe which heads the list of modern fiction shows that this exciting tale is largely an adventure story. His other so called novels like Captain Singleton Moll Flanders and Roxana are but little better than picaresque stories.

Robinson Crusoe is based up on the experiences of Alexander Selkirk who had been marooned in the island of Juan Fernandez of the coast of chile and who had lived there in solitude for five years. On his return to England his experiences were known and Steele published an account of them in The Englishman. That Defoe used this story is generally believed but he claimed to have written Crusoe a year before Selkirk's return.
At first glance it seems that one man on a desert island cannot possibly furnish the material for a long story. But the saving of the cargo of the ship wrecked vessel the preparation for defence against imaginary foes the flutter over the discovery of a footprint in the sand are thing the reader finds highly plausible in this situation.

This absolute naturalness characterizes the whole story. It is a study of human will also - of patience fortitude and the indomitable Saxon spirit overcoming all obstacles. It is this element which made Rousseou recommend Robinson Crusoe as a better treatise on education than anything which Aristotle had written. The hero represents the whole of human society as he does with his own hands all the thing which by the division of labour are now done by many different workers. 

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