Daniel Defoe was nearly 60 years old when he published ROBINSON CRUSOE, his first novel, in 1719. The story of an English mariner, sole survivor of a shipwreck, who manages to survive for 28 years on a deserted island in the South Pacific, ROBINSON CRUSOE is a stirring depiction of loneliness and isolation as Crusoe builds a house, teaches himself to grow corn and barley, and bakes bread. The book was based on the true tale of a sailor named Alexander Selkirk, but Defoe inserts his own preoccupations into the story. Long fascinated by travel, questions of identity, and the minutiae of daily life, Defoe makes Crusoe`s saga of survival into the story of a man who takes control of his own life and overcomes hardships and difficulties in order not only to survive but to prosper. With the introduction of the faithful Friday, who has been taken prisoner by a band of cannibals, Defoe goes further, and explores the concepts of personal liberty and colonialism. The novel is a perennial favorite, providing not only food for thought but a rousing adventure that has influenced dozens of books, movies, and TV shows. People who have never read the novel and never will are very aware of the existence of Robinson Crusoe and his desert island.
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