1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The original castaway
As a boy growing up in 17th Century England, all Robinson Crusoe wanted to do was be a sailor. His parents tried to dissuade him -- it was a dangerous occupation, and certainly a middle class child like him could find a calling much safer and more comfortable. Naturally, he didn't listen, and essentially ran away from home, finding opportunities to sail on a few ships...
Published on Feb. 20 2002 by A.J.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unhurriedly Pragmatic Adventure Story
In the literary world it is perhaps blasphemy to say a bad word against Daniel Defoe's most acclaimed novel. So here goes. The fact that the book was originally titled The Life And Strange Surprising Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe illustrates the major flaw in Defoe's literary form. Put simply, this would be a far more interesting and gripping story were it not so...
Published on June 28 2003 by Yeanold Viskersenn
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4.0 out of 5 stars Robinson Crusoe on Paper,
By A Customer
This review is from: Robinson Crusoe (Paperback)What I found surprising when you read this book is that when the characters described their environment or comrades, the vivid language they used in such times made you believe you were actually in the 1600's. I have rated this book four out of five stars because sometimes the language, the spelling, and the phrases became confusing, especially when dialogue was in use. I enjoyed this book because the fact that Daniel Defoe wrote in his time, the readers today get a well described 1600's English adventure story with 1600's pop culture. This book is very realistic, due to the fact that it was written in the time that the story was taking place, so the authenticity of this book written in its own time is "through the roof" compared to a similar adventure story written today.
I would recommend this book to strong readers and those out to get a feeling of 1600's lifestyle, culture and technology.
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting Adventure is Waiting for You to get Picked Up,
This review is from: Robinson Crusoe (Paperback)"Robinson Crusoe"(can't underline), written by Daniel Defoe, teaches a life lesson through Crusoe's thrilling adventures and is recommended to people from age ten and up (minor violence is involved in the story). The story starts as young Robinson Crusoe faces a ship wreck and gets trapped in an uninhabited island. Desperate to survive, he attempts to create an environment where he can live with convenience. Through many conflicts, Robinson's wits are also shown, one of the things to catch while reading this book. Borrow the book from the library to experience the great excitement and to find out what happens to Crusoe in the island. This is one of those books that will make you stay up over mid-night.
3.0 out of 5 stars Robinson Crusoe,
This review is from: Robinson Crusoe (Paperback)I just finsished reading Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, and let me tell you what a long story it was. It was written in old english, so at the start it was very confusing and hard to understand. But if you keep reading you get the hang if it. I thought it was a pretty good story. I think it would be so hard to live on this island all by yourself for twenty-four years have hardly anything. Then finally one day save a prisoner that ends up your friend, Friday. Followed by several more joining yor little island. The plot was good, and well written but it seems to drag on. Until the end, when he gets all these companions. The end went by so fast. First, he has all these friends and then they leave for England. He sells his plantation, gets married and has three kids. I gave it three star because it was hard to understand but very well written.
3.0 out of 5 stars Caveat Emptor,
By A Customer
This review is from: Robinson Crusoe (Paperback)RC's status as the 'first novel' is hardly a given - there are those who have convincingly argued for Don Quixote, written 100 years earlier, or Oroonoko. That being said, we shouldn't privilege a text because it's (arguably) the first anything, especially when our High School and College canons are, by necessity, too exclusive. I don't think very many people consider RC to be Defoe's best book - Moll Flanders is engaging on many more levels and Roxana might also give a good fight. This story is, at points, little else but a list - even in its best moments (the heavy-handed and sometimes silly 'revelations' that, to be fair, were symptomatic of much contemporary writing), it's hardly a 'masterpiece.' Call it influential, call it important, call it a classic (whatever that means) - but please, do not read or teach this book in lieu of Aphra Behn or even one of Defoe's later books. I doubt even Defoe would want that.
As for the Modern Library edition - swanky packaging, nice large print, fair price - but no footnotes and only a smattering of 'big-name' criticism. This is good for most purposes, but if you want a great edition, get the Norton. The Modern Library should be boycotted anyway for that silly list of the 100 Best Novels they published. Where was Zora Neale Hurston? Sigh. That's neither here nor there, I guess.
5.0 out of 5 stars Being a classic does not mean that you will enjoy it,
This review is from: Robinson Crusoe (Paperback)This is one of those books in which I feel that those who give it one star are right on the point, as well as those who feel that it is a masterpiece.
It is obvious that almost none of us knows what sort of interpretations will receive in the year 2560 a novel written in 1990 and held in our time, by both, popular opinion and literary circles, as a msterpiece. Maybe future readers will feel that is a bunch of rubish and that the nature of the character is not that of the hero but that of an obnoxious artist. The same way some people see today Robinson Crusoe as a repelent friend of slavery.
Judging the moral merits of a novel more than 300 years after it was written is sort of futile because we can not demand from the author to be attuned to the cultural beliefs, world views, literary technique and metal structure of today's reader. But all the critics of whether it is fun to read or not, are perfectly valid, since being entertained is powerful reason to pick up a book at any time in history.
Now, for me Robinson Crusoe is a great book because it can be read at several levels, that is for some people is just the story of a guy stranded in an island. For others is a parabole about the reediming power of the faith. Some see an existencialist struggle between the freedom of the individual versus the complex workings of society and not few percive a shameless propaganda for white supremacy and slavery, and will gladly have the book banned as compulsary reading in schools.
The fact is that by the end of the XVII Century, a writing of this characteristics was unknown, nobody wrote like that. Such spark of originality is recognized and deserves attention, because it creates a turning point in the history of literature. If for today's reader is fun to read or not, that is really another issue. As you will see for many of Amazon.com's reviewers the answer is quite extreme between the opposites of 1 and 5 stars. I invite you to know why.
3.0 out of 5 stars Defined as a classic but not a great classic,
P.S. I recently visited the new spy museum in Washington D.C.. By coincidence, I was also reading Robinson Crusoe at the same time. I happen to notice the fact that Daniel Defoe was a British spy and was credited being the first to set up the spy espionage network in all of Britain.
3.0 out of 5 stars The Original Cast Away,
But it is still an exciting, adventure filled book. Robinson Crusoe defies his family and becomes a sailor on the high seas. Whether just having natural bad luck, or a curse put on him for disobeying his family, he meets with disaster time and again. This will eventually culminate into his being a lone survivor, of a ship wreck, trapped on an island.
Although, as I have written, it takes awhile for the novel to get into its main plot and that when Crusoe is on the island parts of the plot can be dull, all this information adds to our knowledge of Crusoe--of his growing self-sufficientness and confidence, and ability to grow and make items, supplies, and food, and especially of his transformation from woe-is-me sailor to hardy islander.
This book does have its faults--the prevalent racism being the main one. For example, Friday is portrayed as an all-worshiping servant of Crusoe. Also, everyone Crusoe encounters is portrayed as a weakling whose problems can only be solved by Crusoe alone. However, although these attitudes of racism and superiority can't be ignored by the reader, one must remember that this book was written during a time period when these attitudes were considered a normal part of life.
This book is highly recommanded to anyone who loves tales of adventures of high seas.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Origin of the Novel? Who cares? It's a Great Yarn.,
This review is from: Robinson Crusoe (Paperback)Initially, I was hesitant to read this book since has the reputation of being the first English novel, and would therefore be very clumsily constructed and difficult to read. However, my curiousity got the best of me, and after the first ten pages, I was hooked, unable to put it down. Indeed, though its categorization as a work of classic literature is not undeserved, this is not really accurate. It is not hallmarked with flowing prose or poetic passages. Instead the language is simple and gritty, and the plot never meddles with unnecessary details. It is such a readable book, that after finishing it, one can hardly doubt why it has been one of the most popular novels of all time: It is a fantastic story, simply told, whose sole, driving purpose is to entertain. I refuse to give away any of the plot, since the less you know, the better it will be.
I'd like to mention briefly that the Modern Library paperback is very handsome and for its quality, could easily sell at double its current price.
1.0 out of 5 stars important only for its place in history,
This review is from: Robinson Crusoe (Paperback)If I'm not mistaken, "Robinson Crusoe" was one of the first, if not the first modern novel. The most interesting part of the copy I had was actually the introduction which detailed Daniel Defoe's career. Defoe was in constant financial trouble and wrote "Crusoe" in part to get his creditors off his back, if only for a short while. He sold the copyright to the book for a mere 100 pounds only to see the book become the best selling book of its time, the early 18th century. Had he been able to keep the rights to it, he would've made a fortune.
I am a fan of shipwreck stories such as Steven Callahan's "Adrift", Dougal Robertson's "Survive the Savage Sea" and the Bounty muntineers' survival story "Pitcairn's Island" all of which are true stories, or in the case of "Pitcairn's Island" based on true events. So as a fan of the genre, I thought it was only fair that I read the original shipwreck story, "Robinson Crusoe". I was very disappointed. It is hard for a book written in 1717 to translate all that well into the 21st Century and I found Defoe's writing very stilted. The best part of the the story is how Crusoe salvages the ship and solves the various problems he has living by himself. Had the book ended with his rescue, I would've liked it more. Instead, the book then went on for several more chapters with Crusoe claiming his fortune and then going on a hunting expedition! Defoe obviously didn't know how or when to end the story and it just petered out. He later wrote a sequel on the further adventures of Crusoe and perhaps it is telling something about his writing and perhaps with the public losing interest in Crusoe that his Crusoe sequel is almost unheard of and unread today.
The book's greatness, if any, is that it was the one of the first novels and it's success certainly must have inspired Defoe's more talented contemporaries to begin writing novels. For that Defoe is deserving of thanks. But if you want to read a great book about being on a deserted island, read "Pitcairn's Island" by Nordhoff and Hall which is simply terrific.
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic for good reason,
While the main outline of the plot is familiar and recognizable there is much to enjoy in the details that make this a book to read again.
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Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (Paperback - June 12 2001)