“Wyrd biõ ful ãræd.”

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.

10 comments:

  1. Selkirk is almost certainly the inspiration. The story was moved to the much warmer Caribbean, but the picture on the book front plate (which the painting you posted is derived from) has him wearing much to heavy clothes for the equator. But clothes very much like Selkirk wore.

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    1. Well, I guess he would have gotten the idea from the real life story of Selkirk but Defoe certainly did develop the plot well. I think the goatskin clothing is probably not very practical for the tropics but Defoe goes into great detail about making them. I guess that was all he could come up with.

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  2. I've never read it, but should. I do like stories that are in depth, but it's hard when you have kids to get into books. I start one, and can't get it finished. I used to read all the time.

    Now I find myself reading children's books more than anything else.Sad, but true.

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    1. Your time will come. Once the kids are grown and gone you will have more time for reading than you know what to do with.

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  3. This book is available for free on Kindle ,the version I downloaded is illustrated and includes the picture at the top of your entry. I have yet to see a half way decent movie adaption of this classic story.

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    1. I never have seen a movie of it. I wonder if Disney made one. They seem to have made a lot of the classics into films.

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  4. "reading it again with an eye to self sufficiency would probably reveal worthwhile information"

    So i take it that watching reruns of "Gilligan's Island" won't help me much even though it says in the closing theme: "like Robinson Crusoe, it's primitive as can be"?

    All the wasted time.... CRAP!

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    1. I don't know. Having Ginger and Mary Ann as castaway companions would be a lot better than reformed cannibal Friday.

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  5. It was one of my absolute favorite books from about 12 on up. I haven't read it in a few years, and my copy is in storage, but I know where to find it to read online.

    Unfortunately, I can't read for a few more years. I have children, which means it's ill-advised to simply sink into the world of a really good book (which means I don't notice the world around me at all).

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    1. Another mom just mentioned something similar. My kids have been grown up for so long that it's hard to remember when they were little sometimes. I know I was working very long hours a lot of those years, and I'd come home long after they were in bed, and be gone before they got up . I don't guess we had much choice about that, but now I wish I hadn't had to do that. You're right, of course. A mom rarely gets more than 5 minutes to herself with little ones around.

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