Robinson Crusoe as the True Prototype of a British Colonist

Topics: Robinson Crusoe, Novel, Daniel Defoe Pages: 4 (1174 words) Published: May 5, 2014
"Robinson Crusoe” was written by Daniel Defoe, an English writer, journalist and merchant. The novel was first published on the 25th of April 1719. Defoe is often considered one of the founding fathers of the modern novel. In her study of novels, Patricia Ann Meyer Spacks, a notable literary critic comments: “because Defoe concerned himself with characters in ordinary walks of life and investigated their responses to their lives’ occurrences, his fiction bears a comprehensible connection to later novels likely to be familiar to modern readers.”spacks 48 Interestingly, the original title of the novel was “The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pyrates”. This novel was a controversial topic for most critics back in the 18th century as some felt it romanticized the idea of being cast away on an island on your own.

James Joyce, an Irish poet and writer remarked on the protagonists qualities, calling him “the true prototype of the British colonist”(Sussman, p.248). In this essay I will examine Defoe’s novel taking into consideration Joyce’s comments. Crusoe represents the typical English colonist in the 18th century. For example, he is very interested in colonising the island,

economics, capitalism and is condescending towards other people’s faiths.. It is these pieces of information that I have on Robinson Crusoe that I believe made Joyce refer to him as a “true prototype of the British colonist”.

If we look at the history of Ireland (Joyce’s home) it becomes clear to us that it was appropriate of Joyce compare Crusoe to a British colonist. Ireland was under England’s rule for hundreds of years, and many attempts were made by...

Bibliography: Defoe, Daniel, Robinson Crusoe (London: Macmillan and Company, 1868)
Keymer, Thomas, Introduction to Robinson Crusoe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)
Lennon, Colm, Sixteenth Century Ireland — The Incomplete Conquest (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 1994)
Spacks, Patricia Meyer, Novel Beginnings, Experiments in Eighteenth-Century English Fiction (Yale: Yale University Press, 2006)
Sussman, Charlotte, Eighteenth Century English Literature (London: Polity Press, 2012).p 248.
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