Daniel Defoe’s classic novel, The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, is without doubt one of the most recognizable stories in our culture. It is a book which has had hundreds, if not thousands, of editions. It has been translated into over 100 languages, adapted for stage and screen more times than it is possible to accurately record. It is a book which was an immediate commercial success, accessible and readable by the masses. It was a novel at a time when the form really was novel. Indeed, it’s often cited as the first ever English novel.
Robinson Crusoe’s influence has been so powerful that this single work of literature has spawned an entire genre: the Robinsonade. This is the name given to those Crusoe-like stories which involve shipwreck, a desert island, and encountering a strange new society or person There are thousands upon thousands of books and films, plays and poems, tv shows and comic books which take up the Robinson theme.
Defoe’s novel has left a lasting, powerful, complicated, and often dangerous myth in the popular imagination.
In this week’s episode I talk to Dr Ian Kinane about Crusoe and the Robinsonade, about egomania and colonialism, 18th-century fiction and reality TV.
Dr Ian Kinane is Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Roehampton in London. His research includes popular literature, children’s literature, island studies, and postcolonialism. If you want to know more about Robinson Crusoe or the Robinsonade genre you can find his book Theorising Literary Islands here
You can also view his research and profile here.
Music this week was by 3epkano. You can download Hans The Reluctant Wolf Juggler here
Tracks, in the order played:
Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe
Survivor (TV show)
Dublin Book Festival
Words To That Effect and the Dublin Book Festival have teamed up this week. I’m recommending the festival and they are promoting the podcast because, well, we both have literature-loving audiences and if you like Words To That Effect you’ll definitely enjoy the Dublin Book Festival.
I’ve been a few times now and it’s a fantastic festival. There are talks, book launches, workshops and all the things you would expect at a great book festival.
Then they have this lovely “Winter Garden” space in Smock Alley (you can see in the photo) where you can have a coffee or just read a book. Dublin is obviously a literary city but it’s at events like this where all the various strands of what’s happening right now come together.
Have a look at the programme here and book now (bad pun intended). I’ve got my tickets and I’m really looking forward to another great year of events.
Want to know more about popular literature? There’s an episode on popular literature here.
Or how about imaginary spaces, like the one Robinson Crusoe finds himself on? Well, there’s an episode on fictional countries here.
If you enjoy the episode and want to find out how to support the show then click here for more information.
Which podcast would you listen to on a desert island? Let me know in the comments below or check out the Words To That Effect Facebook Page