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MonkeyNotes-Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
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LITERARY/HISTORICAL INFORMATION

Robinson Crusoe was Daniel Defoe's first novel, written when he was almost sixty. The adventure novel was an instant, popular success and was soon translated into German. Through the years, it has remained an often-read classic. Although Defoe was not the first one to tell the story of a sailor marooned on a deserted island, his tale seemed very contemporary. It was inspired by the true story of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish sailor marooned for many years on the island of Yernandez, an uninhabited island in the Pacific. There were three written accounts of Selkirk's experiences, and it is likely that Defoe read one of them.


It is not known how Defoe, living in London, came to know enough to write a story about ships, sailing, pirates, and savages. In his younger days, he did travel abroad, and he also bought and sold ships in his trading business. His real life experiences were obviously supplemented by side reading. Also, in his journalistic endeavors, he had the opportunity to communicate with a wide variety of people who expanded his knowledge. No matter the sources for Robinson Crusoe, it is definitely and entertaining and realistic adventure tale.

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