Robinson Crusoe

The Influence of Science in Defoe's works: From The Consolidator to Robinson Crusoe College

Scientific Writing past paper essay. ‘What distinguishes the novel from the story […] is its essential dependence on the book.’(WALTER BENJAMIN) Trinity 2017.

Here, Walter Benjamin presents ‘the novel’ as a form distinct from ‘the story’. Benjamin’s use of ‘story’ has connotations of fiction and falsity, as a ‘story’ is usually deemed to be a narrative that surpasses the realm of reality. This essay will discuss the evolution of the realist novel, a form that emphasised verisimilitude to suggest that fiction does not necessarily mean ‘untrue’, focussing on the works of Daniel Defoe; critic Arnold Kettle claimed that ‘fiction was never nearer the truth’ than in Defoe’s narratives. Not only the novel’s ‘dependence on the book’ and its material presentation but also The Royal Society’s efforts to reform the language of science heavily influenced the development of the realist novel.

First, it is necessary to consider the role of The Royal Society (established 1660) in the rise of the realist novel. The philosophical and scientific writers of The Royal Society initiated a movement to simplify the language of science, attacking the overly-rhetorical style of scientific discourse. In An Essay Concerning Human Understanding(1689),...

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