This is the sort of…

This is the sort of thing I'm doing these days:

  • Author: Defoe, Daniel

  • Title: Robinson Crusoe

  • Date published: 1719

  • Read Yet?: Y

  • Keywords: Rousseau, Marx, Barthes: noble savage, anti-primitivism, division of labor, means of production, myth of civilization, glorification of British middle class, reproduction of bourgeois comforts and colonial privilege, Friday essentially European (ref: filial affection, European features,) and thus civilizable while still inherently inferior (would rather die than be parted from Crusoe, sent alone back to his "savage" nation); religious guide story, providence story, "God helps those who help themselves"; Woolf: birth of the novel, attention to mundane detail (bourgeois) rather than grand scale, precursor of the realist movement.

  • Thesis: Despite Rousseau's efforts to claim Robinson Crusoe as a glorious example of the benefits of a return to nature (and consequent avoidance of the perils and corruptions of city life), the novel is in fact a celebration of civilization and the benefits of hard work and ever-increasing productivity; Crusoe re-creates in his isolation every comfort of civilization, and even, when presented with the opportunity, adds to those comforts an utterly loyal native servant and several white-skinned subjects of his small kingdom.

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