Talk:Robinson Crusoe

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Jules Verne?[edit]

I remember a book from Jules Verne related: L'École des Robinsons / Godfrey Morgan: A Californian Mystery ( I believe it's not mentioned in the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:41, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

First novel in English?[edit]

Far from being the first novel in English (perhaps Le Morte d'Arthur?), Robinson Crusoe was not even the first novel by Defoe. His first novel was The Consolidator, or, Memoirs of Sundry Transactions From the World in the Moon., published in 1705 (text at

I can't find anyone online who calls The Consolidator a novel. Without having read it, I have to suspect it has to due with narrative structure. However many sites refer to Robinson Crusoe as "considered by many the first English novel". I think our phrasing is equally vague and presents the situation correctly. Rmhermen 15:31, Apr 1, 2004 (UTC)
Take a look! It's a long prose fiction, similar to Gulliver's Travels. Not a novel of character, but a novel of ideas. I guess NPOV demands that I make a page First novel in English to address the controversy. — Gdr 16:46 2004-04-01

I saw a humorous sign in an auto mechanic shop which said "Only Crusoe could get everything done by Friday".  :-)

Walt Disney did [Robin Crusoe, U.S.N.] as parody.

However, "I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good
family, though not of that country, my father being a foreigner of
Bremen, who settled first at Hull. He got a good estate by
merchandise, and leaving off his trade lived afterward at York, from
whence he had married my mother, whose relations were named
Robinson, a good family in that country, and from whom I was called
Robinson Kreutznear; but by the usual corruption of words in England
we are now called, nay, we call ourselves, and write our name, Crusoe,
and so my companions always called me. ... "

I was told the family name meant "Crucified Fool" back in AP Honors English.

The translation of the German "Kreutznaer" (not "Kreutznear") as "crucified fool" is incorrect. "Narr" means fool, but "naer" is different in spelling and pronunciation. "Kreutz" is an old spelling of the German word for "cross", but not for "crucified". AxelBoldt 13:59, 28 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I'd like to disambiguate the link to corn in the article. Anyone know for a fact if it refers to wheat or maize? --Ben Brockert 05:34, May 11, 2004 (UTC)

Neither. (It's barley; see chapter 9.) Gdr 18:37, 2004 May 14 (UTC)
I don't have the book on hand, I'll take your word for it. --Ben Brockert 21:50, May 14, 2004 (UTC)
Yes, you do. See the "external links" section on the article page. Gdr 13:30, 2004 May 16 (UTC)
Oh ah. Good point. More specifically, I don't care about it enough to bother. I'm still taking your word on it. --Ben Brockert 22:32, May 17, 2004 (UTC)

I am confused by the claim that Robinson Crusoe was not inspired by any other work of literature. Immediately before that, in the first paragraph, we learn that Defoe likely drew on previously published works. I have taught Robinson Crusoe on a college level, and yes, it was not created out of thin air. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nanapush (talkcontribs) 17:18, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Connection to Rousseau in this article?[edit]

Somthing like:

"In Jean-Jacques Rousseau's treatise on education, "Emile, or Education", the main character, Emile, is allowed to read only one book before the age of 12, "Robinson Crusoe". Rousseau wants Emile to identify himself as Crusoe, required to reply upon himself for all of his needs. In Rousseau's view, Emile needs to imitate Crusoe’s experience, allowing necessity to determine what is to be learned and accomplished. This is one of the main themes of Rousseau's educational model."


Rflynn1000 13:18, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)rflynn1000

I agree this is a vital point in the novel. Friday is also the archetype of the noble savage. Though many identify Robinson's utilitarianism with Defoe's, Friday is portayed by the author in a much more positive light, and is one of the few characters that are actually bigger than life. What about Robinson's spiritual quest? How do you think the island changes the way he looks at the "civilised world"? --Wikipedius 20:29, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

"man friday"?[edit]

Search on "man friday". Seems to be in the book numerous times. --Stbalbach 02:53, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

Yes, in the context of sentences such as "I took my man Friday ..." but never as "Man Friday". Do you not see the difference? SilentC 03:26, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

The OED has an entry for "man Friday"

The etymology section says:

[Alluding to Robinson Crusoe's servant Friday in Defoe's novel, whom Crusoe usually refers to as ‘my man Friday’.
1719 D. DEFOE Life Robinson Crusoe 224 And first, I made him know his Name should be Friday, which was the Day I sav'd his Life.

The definition says:

Someone regarded as having the characteristics of Defoe's man Friday; a servant, an attendant; a personal assistant who does all kinds of work; a companion.

The first recorded use example is from 1809 says:

a1809 R. M. WILSON Jrnl. (modernized text) in H. G. Thursfield Five Naval Jrnls. (1951) 247 The steward..puts great confidence in his Man Friday.

Etymologically it does appear in the book. As a proper noun it does not. I think it's best to just do what the OED did, say how it was originally used, and how it was later used. - Stbalbach 03:56, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

-- Stbalbach 03:56, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

Agreed SilentC 04:12, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
I've added the comma back, as it's grammatically more likely, but I don't have a copy to hand — could someone check? --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 17:31, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
It is without the comma in the OED and in the Gutenberg copy online. -- Stbalbach 18:05, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

Editing the Plot[edit]

I am editing the plot to delete all parts of the story after the point in which Robinson Crusoe leaves the island. I have three different publications of the book, and none of them include Robinson going back and forth from the Brazils to England and meeting up with his captain friend. After boarding the English ship, the book merely says that "[Robinson Crusoe] returned to England after a thirty-five year absence", and the book ends.

It's in the Norton edition (see References). -- Stbalbach 05:02, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

Turtle eating Frenchman[edit]

Could you provide further details of the report referred to here?

"One report describes a Frenchman who, after two years of solitude on Mauritius, tore his clothing to pieces in a fit of madness brought on by a diet of nothing but raw turtles." —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

There is also a "citation requested" tag for it in the article. -- Stbalbach 21:03, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

no modern book can boast of such worldwide esteem[edit]

Very good example of peacock terms. Vapour

Equating Western literary world with "the literary world" would be Eurocentric but I would leave it for now. Vapour

Here is the full sentence:

Despite its simple narrative style and the absence of the supposedly indispensable love motive, no modern book can boast of such worldwide esteem.

1) RC is considered the most widely published book in history, in the world (behind some of the religious texts). It has been a publishing hit since the day it was published, into "modern" (current) times. The article discusses this, it is very unusual in how widely published it is, there are few comparisons. 2) It is an axiom, in the modern publishing world, that novels will never succeed unless they have a "love interest" of some kind.

In other words, despite the books antiquated 18th c narrative techniques, and lack of any female interest, it remains at the top of the list in global readership. Now, how you want to word all this is simply a matter of style - I didn't write it originally, but thought it was pithy. It really is a shame to see the meaning of it totally changed and deleted from the article, this is standard mainstream interpretation for anyone who has studied the work, in particular over some obscure "politically correct" POV about "eurocentric". -- Stbalbach 23:13, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

I would say RC is still widely published but its readership is gradually decreasing especially with younger and/or non western generation because the relevance and its significance is harder to grasp. I'm a Japanese and I can say that very few people have actually read the book though many are aware of its basic premiss. The name of RC's companion, Friday, would be considered quite difficult in trivia quiz. I can appreciate the cultural relevance of RC because I'm familiar with the West. For this reason, I also believe that "worldwide esteem" is pushing it too far. "how you want to word all this is simply a matter of style". This is the key here. In fact, in wikipedia, it is not matter of style. It is a matter of policy.
"RC is considered the most widely published book in history, in the world (behind some of the religious texts). It has been a publishing hit since the day it was published, into "modern" (current) times."
The above describtion refer to verifiable fact (though citation is needed). "no modern book can boast of such worldwide esteem." is an unverifiable claim. I will use yours. Vapour

The whole thing should read "by the end of the 19th century.." - once you enter the era of modern literature and mass-produced books (paperbacks in the 1930s) this claim goes out the window. But it is still relevant from a literary history viewpoint, RC really was one of the most widely published and read books in the 18th and 19th centuries, something that everyone read. -- Stbalbach 01:59, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

And I would like to read why it had such strong impact. To be honest, it is not far off to say that the current TV series "Lost" is a distant offspring of RC. It did define the whole castaway survival genere. I would say there are lot more one can say about RC. I would appreciate if you can expand on the themes and influence section. Vapour
Yeah that is known as "Robinsonade" which the article mentions. I agree a lot needs to be expanded on. -- Stbalbach 14:07, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

Needed: A web-edition of the first edition published in 1719[edit]

Hi, I am looking for people who might like to join me in an attempt to produce a web-edition after the first edition of RC. I could provide scans of the original and an html-text to be revised in the joint effort, yet woul not like to do the work all alone. (See for a first glance - I would not mind if the text we'd produce became public domain, quite the contraray...) --Olaf Simons 15:38, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Not sure what you mean by web edition since Project Gutenberg has it online and you have already put a copy online. Do you mean an annotated edition? I created an annotated edition of 'Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes' by Robert Louis Stevenson - perhaps something like that? -- Stbalbach 20:37, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
The Gutenberg text is a scan of an unknown text source (maybe 19th or early 20th century). It lacks for instance the original preface. Spelling and punctuation are modernised... it is a text you cannot quote with any authority. One should have an html-text following an early edition (I'd propose to follow the first, with all its mistakes and to note these mistakes where necessary, since that gives a picture of what the first readers actually got). The edition to be prodcuced would have page references to the first edition so that anyone could refer to it (RC, first edition, 1719, p.256). The link I gave [1] offers the edition to be produced up to page 3 to give an example (the rest is Gutenberg text). It needs to be checked and corrected throughout. To do that you put the html in one window and the acrobat-reader with the scan of the original pages into the other and then you check the edition sentence by sentence... tedious work, yet good work as that would produce an edition scientists and students all over the world could refer to. Being one of these scholars I'd be ready to offer the literary historian's commentary with the edition we would produce. I'd just like to shoulder that with some other folks. 36 pages, that's a weekend's job, jet ten weekends are no nice work any longer, so if I find ten people who want to read RC anyway, I'll ofer them copies of the original and the html-text to be revised. --Olaf Simons 08:34, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
Distributed Proofreaders does this. They have a large base of volunteers that do this kind of work. -- Stbalbach 13:35, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
Good tip, let's see whether I can win them... (on the other hand, if there are fans around who think they'd like to produce such an edition, contact me at --Olaf Simons 09:21, 18 May 2006 (UTC)


An anon editor added that the island "was thought to be that of Tobago". Beyond the obvious problem that this is a work of fiction, and "thought" by who, based on what evidence - the island of Tobago is a well-known tourist destination and certainly would be economic incentive to claim to be the island - but I notice it is about 50 miles in length which would be much bigger than the island of the novel. --Stbalbach 16:46, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

'However, the description Crusoe's island was probably based on the island of Tobago, since that island is near the mouth of the river Orinoco, and in sight of the island of Trinidad.'

Did the person who wrote this bother to check the location of Tobago?

Dab14763 (talk) 18:19, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Crusoe - Caruso[edit]

Just added a paragraph to the "Cultural Influences" section about the common confusion of Crusoe and Caruso. I still find this persistent mix-up, perhaps because of the lingering influence of the misponunciation embedded in the closing theme song of Gilligan's Island. In any case, I would welcome any additional contributions and editing by those more knowledgeable than I on this issue.

Dr. T. 17:01, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Mention in the media[edit]

There's a good article in First Monday, which mentions extensively this page and errors in it. It would probably be worth taking a look. Cheers. Cormaggio is learning 11:00, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Thanks. Good article. -- Stbalbach 15:34, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Does anyone remember a French T.V. adaptation of 'Robinson Crusoe' made sometime in the sixties I think? It was shown many times on British T.V. in a dubbed version. Might be worth a mention along with some other film and T.V. adaptations perhaps.The Relativist 11:11, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Actually the TV version was Russian I believe. Filmed in black-and-white with an evocative orchestral theme in which the strings were most evident, in the seventies it used to be shown on TV in the mornings during the summer school holidays, here in the UK. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:53, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I'm sure that was it. I do remember the music was very good. I'm probably wrong about the language.The Relativist (talk) 10:28, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
I am sure it was French version. Anyone growing up in the 70s will remember it :) Kentish 19:09, 14 August 2011 (GMT)
Yes, my mistake - it was a 'Franco-German' production. I always remembered it as being Russian for some reason. It was shown around the same time in the seventies as The Aeronauts (Les chevaliers du ciel) [2] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:40, 20 August 2014 (UTC)


I've removed this sentence "Defoe's views are reflected in those of Christian anarchism." There's no indication that Defoe supported Christian Anarchism, other than the fact that Crusoe read a Bible independently. Defoe was a Presbyterian Deipnosopher 20:27, 16 February 2007 (UTC)


Have uploaded a picture of the marker in Queen's Gardens, Hull, where Robinson was said to have departed from if anyone wants it... Merlin-UK 17:57, 27 April 2007 (UTC)


Robinson Crusoe and Man Friday Offterdinger.jpg I have removed this illustration from the infobox and replaced it with the traditional title page. Please place the illustration where you will in the article. Awadewit Talk 08:01, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

done. SADADS (talk) 02:12, 28 May 2009 (UTC)


I'm trying to get some comments for a proposed guideline about titles with subtitles. I would appreciate any comments over at WP:Village pump (policy)/Archive 16#WP:SUBTITLES. Thanks! superlusertc 2007 December 23, 08:37 (UTC)


I seem to recall this book has one of the most famous gaffe's in literary history. Robinson strips naked, swims out to his boat and then fills his pockets with what he salvages. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:00, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

I can think of "one" pocket he could use to fill. Ha, I joke. Unless there was a sentence that stated that he was clearly nude, from head to toe, than I wouldn't say it was a gaffe. Bag, pouch, shirt pocket, belt pocket, etc.

-G —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:40, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

On page 56, he does state that he "takes off his clothes" and then fills his pockets, but on 57, he clarifies that he took off only his coat, shirt and waist-coat. He left his breeches and stockings on. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Igloo76 (talkcontribs) 05:59, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

another possible source[edit]

In the spanish article, you can read that a possible source to the novel is the real story of Pedro Serrano, a castaway who lived during 4 years in a desert island. In his travels to spain, DeFoe could have heared or read about his story. And if you read the Comments that Garcilaso de la Vega "El Inca" wrote about the story of Pedro Serrano, you can see parallel facts between the novel and the real story, for example when Robinson believes that the Devil is in the island.

Foundation of Religious Knowledge[edit]

I have several editions of Robinson Crusoe in my possession. I recently found that some of editions say, "I was NOT wanting to lay a foundation of religious knowledge in his mind," while others say, "I was NOW his mind." In any edition, the sentence is preceeded by "During the long time that Friday had now been with me, and that he began to speak to me and understand me,..." When I search for that exact phrase online, I only find "not wanting..." This leads me to believe that "not wanting" is correct and "now wanting" just happens to be misprinted in at least two editions. However, "now wanting" makes more sense since Crusoe goes on to instruct Friday in "the knowledge of the true God." So, scholars: What say you? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:49, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Is it true?[edit]

Is Robinson Crusoe as primitive as can be? It's not mentioned in the article. (talk) 05:14, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

28 years?[edit]

Crusoe sets sail from the Queen's Dock in Hull on a sea voyage in September 1651. And Crusoe leaves the island December 19th, 1686, and arrives back in England June 11th, 1687. Which is clear that it is 36 years. If 28 years is correct, then the details stated above are false. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ax colleen (talkcontribs) 14:55, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Robinson's first journey was not the one that left him in the island. He had a lot of adventures before he became a castaway. That is the reason why your math does not made the numbers. 28 years is the time he spent in the island but the book starts talking about 8 previous years of adventures before it. Read it.--Fredyrod (talk) 03:08, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Inaccuracies in Lead[edit]

The lead says that the author, Daniel Defoe is the "younger brother" of actor Willem Defoe who it identifies as "Flemish". Willem Defoe is an American actor and was born in 1955, 224 years after Daniel Defoe died. What's going on here? Was there really an actor in the 17th century Netherlands named Willem Defoe? or is this just an absurd prank? CeltGermSlav (talk) 01:47, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

Those were edits made by a persistent vandal ip, who has since been blocked. Sorry for the confusion. WaynaQhapaq (talk) 03:13, 15 May 2010 (UTC)


I don't suppose my amended version of the page could be allowed? It is written in English (rather than American) after all.Keith-264 (talk) 17:19, 17 November 2010 (UTC)

Alexander Selkirk[edit]

It was announced on Today on Radio Four on July 1 2011 that Selkirk was NOT the only inspiration for the story - he might, it has been claimed, been influenced by some one called Knox. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 09:49, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

More editions than any other book?[edit]

"By the end of the 19th century, no book in the history of Western literature had more editions, spin-offs and translations (even into languages such as Inuktitut, Coptic and Maltese) than Robinson Crusoe, with more than 700 such alternative versions, including children's versions with mainly pictures and no text.[8]"

This may be true, but does anyone have a tally of all the "editions, spin-offs and translations" of the Bible ever published up to 1900? Zip-x (talk) 15:14, 24 February 2012 (UTC)


Some of the cites in the text refer to chapters of the book. I seem to recall, from reading it, that there were no chapters at all in the thing (though it could have used them). Was it broken into chapters later? --Piledhigheranddeeper (talk) 14:45, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

Queen's Dock?[edit]

A "correction" inserted by a well-meaning editor may very well be valid (although it is always helpful if you can give us your source so we can verify it). More to the point, we do NOT edit articles by adding notes that "this is incorrect", but by substituting the correct information - perhaps something like "supposed to be Queen's Dock in Hull, although it would actually have been...". Or better still, raise it first on this page. I might further remark that arguments about the precise locations of fictitious events, or (worse) the birthplaces, nationalities etc. of fictitious people have bedeviled some articles here with very little positive benefit. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 14:45, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Unreferenced commentary in synopsis of story[edit]

The commentary I have deleted may well be able to be reinserted - but it will need have a citation (this should be easy, as it has the "feel" of being lifted from a source). It will also need to be placed in a more appropriate place (NOT in the middle of the story synopsis). Finally - it needs to be rewritten in encyclopedic style - no rhetorical questions for instance. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 09:37, 13 November 2013 (UTC)


As mentioned in this article - Robinson Crusoe has given rise to an extensive "genre" of both popular and "serious" literature (in the widest sense of that word, but including novels, verse, theatrical and radio/television productions, films etc.) some of which directly refer to or parody the original novel - but many more of which just steal the basic idea of a shipwrecked or "marooned" individual or party forced to survive with limited resources on an uninhabited island or other isolated location. Just to pick a few novels - Gulliver's Travels, The Swiss Family Robinson, The Coral Island, Lord of the Flies etc. etc. There are literally thousands of these things - an article that attempted to list them would be very large indeed - in fact it would need to be an article in its own right. This is why we mention only a very select list of Robinsonades here - most of them chosen either for their high literary value/notability, and/or the fact that they actually DO directly parody or otherwise treat themes or aspects of the original novel. Sadly - someone added a silly television sitcom and it was allowed to stand - someone else has started an edit war to add another. Where would it end? Obviously, we'd be lucky to retain anything that might pass for an encyclopedia article. This needs to be resisted. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 11:38, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

In the hope that my supposed "vandal" will prove a responsible editor and come here to discuss this one! I am NOT making value judgements about Gilligan's Island (well I am in a way, but not saying it shouldn't have its own article, or that that article isn't important, in its own context. On the other hand that article doesn't say anything about this one (except to mention, obliquely, the words of its theme song). I just don't think a mention in the theme song and the very broad "Robinsonade" category is enough to warrant such a mention here. Might be different if the Gilligan's Island article went into some depth to explain the connection with R.C. ? Then again, it might not, even then. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 11:20, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
"Gilligan's Island", is clearly the most classic television show that is relevant to "Robinson Crusoe", at least having the theme song mention to back it up (that being the focus of my insert, surely not defacing the article with its briefness), and I find it funny you consider "Garfield" and "Mr. Peabody" to have the "high literary value/notability" to deserve mention instead, also totally ignoring that someone says "LOST" was heavily influenced by Defoe's novel (it wasn't). As if it needs any explaining, the book, the Bunuel film and every other version of the story focuses much time on the hero's having to use his ingenuity to create all the things needed to survive and make a new home for himself when separated from society (as the seven castaways did), and learning the only thing he cannot find a solution for is his loneliness (toward which the castaways on more than one occasion mentioned being thankful they had each other). Just as the author intended the novel to say something about society, Sherwood Schwartz, creator of "Gilligan's Island", saw his series as a microcosm of whatever worldly problems visited the island week to week. Meanwhile, the bunch from "LOST" never concentrated on creating a home (except when they found the Dharma facility which was already completely built) nor were they particularly lonely (there were people they were more interested in escaping) nor was the island deserted, nor as it turned out was it actually an island. Bottom line, your continued removal of my inserting the show is unwarranted. As I mentioned when contacting you, if you have enough faith in being right in the value judgment you are indeed making, why not put the matter to the decision of other editors here? (talk) 12:17, 2 March 2014 (UTC)Defenestrator
1. I thought we actually were actually in agreement about "Lost in Space' so I don't know what that has to do with anything. It is the nature of Wiki articles that not everything that shouldn't be there gets deleted right away. At the very most, "Lost" is certainly not MORE relevant to the R.C. article than G.I. - or are you arguing that we need to mention Lost in Space here??
2. There are many, many Robinsonades (stories reflecting the basic storyline of the original novel). It is NOT appropriate to try to list ALL of these. We have to be select - and the selection needs to be based on relevance, rather than either my opinion of the show as garbage OR yours that it is "the most classic television show".
3. Gilligan's Island has its own article, which doesn't bring up the novel or relate its themes to those of the sitcom or, indeed, link with this article in any way (and probably quite rightly). Even the theme song - which mentions R.C. but only in passing, is not discussed at any length in the G.I. article. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 22:30, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
I have actually added a "see also" link to G.I. - this is probably the best way of linking these two very tenuously connected articles.--Soundofmusicals (talk) 22:48, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Silly tags[edit]

Just in case someone objects to the "detagging" of the lead to this article - we probably DO need a good cite for the fact that Más a Tierra was renamed as "Robinson Crusoe Island" in 1966 (although a quick check reveals this is actually true) - without going into silly detail, we don't need the citations that I deleted, for things that are quite verifiable, if not plainly obvious. Although the referencing (and perhaps some other factors) preclude this from being more than a c-class article at present, and two sub-sections are (rightly) taged as being short on references, it probably doesn't need an overarching "references needed" tag. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 04:34, 27 December 2014 (UTC)