Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Defoe: The Father of the Novel College

The rise of the novel is one of the most frequently debated literary themes in the history of literature. Scholars have always been divided in two factions that argue whether Beware the Cat by William Baldwin or Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe is the first English novel (Mackay, 32). While, on the one hand, scholars as Arthur F. Kinney and William A. Ringler claim that the ground-breaking satire Beware the Cat should be considered as the first English novel (Kinney, 398), on the other hand, intellectuals of the caliber of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf argue that The Life and Strange Surprising Adventure of Robinson Crusoe, Ec. is the text that started this new genre. Robinson Crusoe, in fact, is usually recognized as the first English novel since this book breaks with the writing standards fixed by past literary tradition. The theme of religion, which was the core theme of 17th century writing, has a major role in the book, but it does not represent the only theme that Defoe touched upon in the novel. According to Quentin G. Kraft, in Robinson Crusoe there are two main themes: the spiritual autobiography and the economic matters. These two themes, however, are not the only innovation that Defoe presents in Robinson Crusoe; in...

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