Monday, March 10, 2014
Robinson Crusoe. The first survivalist novel?
Robinson Crusoe was first published in April of 1719. No one really knows what motivated Daniel Defoe to write it, though some people say it was based on the real life story of a shipwrecked Scottish sailor named Selkirk. Whatever the case, it's a tremendous read. One of the first things I notice about it this time around, is that if you just changed a few things to make the setting more modern, it would be a great survival novel in our own times. The needs Crusoe has, and the way he satisfies them, would fit right in to our own situation in the present day.
If you've never read it, it's very worthwhile. If you have, reading it again with an eye to self sufficiency would probably reveal worthwhile information you missed the first time around. There are great quotes in it, and I spent a lot of time jotting down things in a little lined book I always have to hand when I'm reading
"I gave humble and hearty thanks that God had been pleased to discover to me that it was possible I might be more happy in this solitary condition than I should have been in the liberty of society."
Defoe, Daniel (2011-03-30). Robinson Crusoe (p. 71).
It's a long book, and can be tough going. Some of it is interesting in it's own right as a story, and some of it you have to wade through, taking into account the period of history it was written in. Even so, it's hard to beat for good survival information even though it's almost 300 years old.