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Robinson Crusoe (Modern Library Classics Series)

Robinson Crusoe - Virginia Woolf, Daniel Defoe, Gerald McCann I wrote this review as if the Crusoe had come out now, in 2009, rather than in the 1700's... trying to be clever. My attempt at humor failed, but here it is anyway.....You have to applaud an author who produces such a successful work in the already crowded "castaway on a deserted island" genre. Defoe's Robinson Crusoe definitely holds its own among the likes of The Swiss Family Robinson, The Lord of the Flies and The Island of the Blue Dolphins, not to mention existing film and TV takes on the theme such as Cast Away, Gilligans Island and Lost. Defoe differentiates Robinson Crusoe by leaving him stranded for over 28 years, making the short stints served by the protagonists of the aforementioned stories seem almost laughable. Defoe's risk was worth it--people change slowly and it takes a lone man a long time to complete tasks the size Cruose's endeavors. The long span of time gives him ample time to undergo large changes, to begin and end large projects and it really gives the book a depth and dimension that is lacking elsewhere.The prose is dense but well written and generally flows nicely. The throwback to early 18th century English is, while occasionally tiresome, educational and appropriate for the setting. It is quaint, for instance, to hear Brazil called "The Brazils."At times, Defoe goes out on a limb and throws political correctness to the dogs, for example, native inhabitants are "savages", Crusoe shows a propensity for colonialism, there is frequent and gratuitous bloodshed of animals, the periodic mention of taking on slaves etc., but these faux paus can almost be overlooked when taken in context of the setting and in contrast with the beautiful spiritual transformations and moral lessons Crusoe learns and applies in his adventures. The overall theme of the book is enlightening, human and hopeful. It is a story that is well worth your time to read.