Daniel Defoe's great masterpiece, in a gorgeous new clothbound edition designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith. These delectable and collectible Penguin editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design 'I walk'd about on the shore, lifting up my hands, and my whole being, as I may say, wrapt up in the contemplation of my deliverance ... reflecting upon all my comrades that were drown'd, and that there should not be one soul sav'd but my self ... ' Who has not dreamed of life on an exotic isle, far away from civilization? Here is the novel which has inspired countless imitations by lesser writers, none of which equal the power and originality of Defoe's famous book. Robinson Crusoe, set ashore on an island after a terrible storm at sea, is forced to make do with only a knife, some tobacco, and a pipe. He learns how to build a canoe, make bread, and endure endless solitude. That is, until, twenty-four years later, when he confronts another human being. First published in 1719, Robinson Crusoe has been praised by such writers as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Johnson as one of the greatest novels in the English language. 'Robinson Crusoe has a universal appeal, a story that goes right to the core of existence' Simon Armitage
Born in London to a prosperous tallow-chandler, Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) was educated at the Presbyterian Ministry at Morton's Academy for Dissenters, but in 1683 abandoned the ministry and followed his father by pursuing a career in trade and politics. A prolific non-fiction writer (writing some 500 books on a wide range of topics), prominent public figure (single-handedly producing the Review, a pro-government newspaper, for some time) political agitant (arrested in 1703 for writing an ironical satire on High Church extremism) and secret agent, it was not until late in his life that Defoe turned to fiction. He published Robinson Crusoe in 1719, just over ten years before his death, and is widely held to be the first true novelist.
“Beyond the end of Robinson Crusoe is a new world of fiction. Even though it did not know itself to be a ‘novel,’ and even though there were books that we might now call ‘novels’ published before it, Robinson Crusoe has made itself into a prototype . . . Perhaps because of all the novels that we have read . . . the novelty of Defoe’s fiction is the more striking when we return to it. Here it is, at the beginning of things, with its final word reaching out into the future.” –from the Introduction by John Mullan