Daniel Defoe used realism to enhance his novel, Robin Crusoe. Many critics agree with this statement, while some think that he should have been more accurate with his realism. Critics also found the book to be very enlightening and beneficial to read and they found that it appealed to a very wide variety of people including the rich and poor and the young and old. Last but not least, some critics found that it showed lack of ability to create characters and events.
Daniel Defoe was born to James and Mary Defoe in St. Gates, London in 1660. His family were all Dissenters, also known as Presbyterians. He had a very good education and his father hoped that he would become a minister, but he chose not to. Defoe’s mother died when he was just ten years old, then his father sent him to a boarding school (Moore 1). He was then educated at the Morton Academy (Harvey 215) where "he was a very good student, and his teacher, the Reverend Me. Norton himself, would later show up as a character in some of Daniel’s fiction". One year later he married Mary Tuffley and also "joined the army of the rebel Duke of Monmouth, who were attempting to take the throne from James II". The rebellion ended up a failure and as a result he and many other troops were semi-exiled from the country (Moore 1).
By 1692, Daniel had gone bankrupt and "ended up owing over 17,000 pounds, and though he paid off all but 5,000 pounds within ten years, he was never free of debt" (Moore 1). Then, writing started to become big part of him. "In 1701, he wrote poem called The True-Born Englishman which became the best-selling poem ever at that time" (Moore 1). "In 1706, he returned to Scotland and started up a newspaper in Edinburgh called the Post-Man" (Moore 2). He was known as "the father of modern journalism" (Moore 3). However, the following year "The Act of Union was made official" (Moore 2) and as a result he lost his job. In 1719, his first volume of Robinson Crusoe was published and it was a big hit, especially with the middle and lower class citizens. After his success with Robinson Crusoe, he published Moll Flanders in 1722, using "his experiences in Newgate prison to add realism". "Daniel used to go to prison cells an...
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...from hiss life, but from other people’s lives also. As you can see from Parker’s excerpt, even though the novel, Robinson Crusoe, was written to copy the author’s life in some ways, many author’s such as Ian Watt agree that the novel, Robinson Crusoe, was written in "a fascinating narrative form". However, Ernest A. Baker still thinks that this just showed lack of skill in being able to create fictional characters, events, and dates (Tucker 49).
Florman, Ben. "Summary of Robinson Crusoe." SparkNotes
Harvey, Paul. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962
Magill, Frank N. Critical Survey of Long Fiction. Englewood Cliffs: Salem Press, 1983
Moore, John Robert. "Daniel ‘The True-Born Englishman’ Defoe." IncompeTech
Tucker, Martin. The Critical Temper. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1988.
Tucker, Martin. Moulton’s Library of Literary Criticism. New York: Frederick Ungar
Publishing Co., 1966
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