The History of Literature

82 Robinson Crusoe

March 3, 2017

In 1719, a prolific author and political agitator named Daniel Defoe published a long-form narrative about a shipwrecked sailor stranded on a desert island, who lives in solitude for 27 years before famously seeing a human footprint on the sand. Often viewed as the first novel written in English, Robinson Crusoe was a smash hit in its day and has been popular ever since. Who was Daniel Defoe, and how did he go from being the owner of a brick-and-tile factory to being the author of 500 works (and a paid spy)? How does his classic adventure story forge a path for novels and novel writing? How did this work become so popular – and why did its protagonist, a man coming to grips with both solitude and the absence of society, become a modern literary myth? And finally, we take a look at the story of Alexander Selkirk, the real-life survivor who may have served as the inspiration for Defoe’s classic character.  FREE GIFT!  Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at [email protected] to receive your free History of Literature card as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last!  Show Notes:  Contact the host at [email protected] or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).  You can find more literary discussion at and more episodes of the series at Check out our Facebook page at You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “NewsSting” and “Secret of Tiki Island” by Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.     Learn more about your ad choices. Visit neither hosts nor alters podcast files. All content © its respective owners.