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Robinson Crusoe

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 22 December 2011

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Daniel Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe. Published in 1719, it was an immediate success and is considered the classic adventure story. There are several incidents that may have inspired the tale, although none of them exactly mirrors Defoe's thrilling yet didactic narrative. The plot is now universally known - the sailor stranded on a desert island who learns to tame the environment and the native population. The character of Friday, Crusoe's trusty companion and servant, has become almost as famous as Crusoe himself and their master-servant relationship forms one of the principal themes in the novel.

Robinson Crusoe has been interpreted in myriad ways, from colonial fable to religious instruction manual to capitalist tract; although arguably above all of these, it is perhaps best known today as a children's story.

With:

Karen O'Brien
Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education at the University of Birmingham

Judith Hawley
Professor of Eighteenth-Century Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London

Bob Owens
Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the Open University

Producer: Natalia Fernandez.

  • FURTHER READING

    Daniel Defoe, ‘Robinson Crusoe’, ed. John Richetti (Penguin Classics, 2003)

    Daniel Defoe, ‘Robinson Crusoe’, ed. Thomas Keymer and James Kelly (Oxford World’s Classics, 2007)

    Daniel Defoe, ‘The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe’, ed. W. R. Owens (Pickering & Chatto, 2008)

    Lieve Spaas and Brian Stimpson, ‘Robinson Crusoe: Myths and Metamorphoses’ (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Macmillan Press, 1996)

    P. R. Backscheider, ‘Daniel Defoe: Ambition and Innovation’ (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1987)

    I. A. Bell, ‘Defoe’s Fiction’ (London: Croon Helm, 1985)

    M. E. Novak, ‘Realism, Myth and History in Defoe’s Fiction’ (Lincoln, NB/London: University of Nebraska Press, 1983)

    P. Rogers, ‘Robinson Crusoe’ (London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1979)

    J. J. Richetti, ‘Daniel Defoe’ (Boston: Twayne, 1987)

    M. Seidel, ‘Robinson Crusoe: Island Myths and the Novel’ (Boston: Twayne, 1991)

    G. A. Starr, ‘Defoe and Casuistry’ (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1971)

    Ian Watt, ‘Myths of Modern Individualism’ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997)

    Ian Watt, ‘The Rise of the Novel’ (Chatto and Windus, 1957)

    Peter Hulme, ‘Colonial Encounters: Europe and the Native Caribbean, 1492-1797’ (1986, paperback 1992)

    Paul Baines, ‘Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe/Moll Flanders’ (Readers’ Guides to Essential Criticism series, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)

    Martin Green, ‘The Robinson Crusoe Story’ (Penn State University Press, 1990)

    John Richetti, ‘The Life of Daniel Defoe’ (Blackwell Critical Biographies series, Blackwell Publishing, 2005)

    John Richetti (ed.), ‘The Cambridge Companion to Daniel Defoe’ (Cambridge University Press, 2008)

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