The sole survivor of a shipwreck, Robinson Crusoe is stranded on anuninhabited island far from any shipping routes. At first he is indespair, but slowly, with patience and ingenuity, he transforms hisdismal island into a tropical paradise. But for twenty-four years hehas no human company - until one Friday, he rescues a prisoner from aboatload of cannibals.
About The Author
Daniel Defoe was a Londoner, born in 1660 at St Giles,Cripplegate, and son of James Foe, a tallow-chandler. He changed hisname to Defoe from c. 1695. He was educated for the PresbyterianMinistry at Morton's Academy for Dissenters at Newington Green, but in1682 he abandoned this plan and became a hosiery merchant in Cornhill.After serving briefly as a soldier in the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion,he became well established as a merchant and travelled widely inEngland, as well as on the Continent.
Between 1697 and 1701 he served as a secret agent for William III inEngland and Scotland, and between 1703 and 1714 for Harley and otherministers. During the latter period he also, single-handed, producedthe Review, a pro-government newspaper. A prolific and versatile writerhe produced some 500 books on a wide variety of topics, includingpolitics, geography, crime, religion, economics, marriage, psychologyand superstition. He delighted in role-playing and disguise, a skill heused to great effect as a secret agent, and in his writing he oftenadopted a pseudonym or another personality for rhetorical impact.
His first extant political tract (against James II) was published in1688, and in 1701 appeared his satirical poem The True-Born Englishman,which was a bestseller. Two years later he was arrested for TheShortest-Way with the Dissenters, an ironical satire on High Churchextremism, committed to Newgate and pilloried. He turned to fictionrelatively late in life and in 1719 published his great imaginativework, Robinson Crusoe. This was followed in 1722 by Moll Flanders and AJournal of the Plague Year, and in 1724 by his last novel, Roxana.
His other works include A Tour Through the Whole Island of GreatBritain, a guide-book in three volumes (1724-6; abridged Penguinedition, 1965), The Complete English Tradesman (1726), AugustaTriumphans, (1728), A Plan of the English Commerce (1728) and TheComplete English Gentleman (not published until 1890). He died on 24April 1731. Defoe had a great influence on the development of theEnglish novel and many consider him to be the first true novelist.
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