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Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe" & the Robinsonades is a collection of various editions of Robinson Crusoe and similarly themed texts such as the popular The Swiss Family Robinson.  The term "Robinsonades" is used to describe literary works about survival without the aid of civilization, frequently on a deserted island. This genre takes is name from the 1719 novel Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.

In the archetypical Robinsonade, the protagonist is suddenly isolated from the comforts of civilization, usually shipwrecked or marooned on a secluded and uninhabited island. He must improvise the means of his survival from the limited resources at hand. The protagonist survives by his wits and the qualities of his cultural upbringing, which also enable him to prevail in conflicts with fellow castaways or over local peoples he may encounter. Some of the titles here may appear more tangentially related; for instance, collections of stories that include Robinsonades.

Robinson Crusoe was influential in creating a colonialization mythology - As novelist James Joyce eloquently noted the true symbol of the British conquest is Robinson Crusoe: "He is the true prototype of the British colonist… ". Later works expanded on and explored this mythology. Though Defoe's Robinson Crusoe is set within tropical environs, several of the Robinsonades collected here tell the Crusoe story in settings as different as the Arctic, the American west, and other global locations.

This collection of Robinsonades is valued as much for it popularity as its popular use in enculturation and language learning. Variant editions available here, for example, retell the tale for children in words of one syllable which serves as an aid to learning the language and provides early exposure to the highly regarded cultural values of courage, independence, inventiveness, creativity and resourcefulness.


This digital collection is part of the Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature and its Digital Collections in the Department of Special & Area Studies Collections at the University of Florida's George A. Smathers Libraries. Search all of the Baldwin Collection's digital materials.

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