Sunday, September 21, 2008

Book #29, Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe

"All evils are to be considered with the good that is in them, and with what worse attends them." (Page 80)

That's probably one of the pithiest (and shortest!) sentences in Robinson Crusoe.

As a modern reader I found the writing tediously expository and endlessly overwrought and detailed -- but, making allowances for this 1719 storytelling mode, I was impressed by the resulting sense of realism and disproportionate sense of importance imbued upon everyday occurrences by the extraordinary circumstances of Robinson's situation.

I found this comment from the Introduction by Angus Ross of particular interest:

"The imaginative interest of the reader, therefore, in the castaway's adaptability, his ingenuity in improvising, is like the interest of a reader of certain kinds of Science Fiction. How do human beings adapt their normal habits, ideas, standards and equipment to a Martian society, or a Venusian atmosphere?" (page 17)

Also, it was kind of amusing that after the ordeal on the island and his return to England, Robinson winds up in Madrid (where I was born and grew up).
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