From the restoration to augustan age with defoe's robinson crusoe
THE RESTORATION (1660 – 1714)The Restoration marked the end of the period of fanaticism belonged to the Stuart House. The firstprotagonist was Charles II that was considered a very immoral king because he represented all thebad behaviours and reflected them in his court. He came back in England after a long period ofexile in France where he knew the policy of Luis XIV and his absolute power.In the first period of his monarchy there was the bubonic plague, in the second there was a great firethat destroyed London in 1666 and it was rebuilt by Christopher Wren (an important architect of theage). The puritans believed that these two catastrophes were caused by the immorality of the king asa divine punishment.In 1673 the convention of parliament named the king “Cavalier Parliament” and imposed him tosign the Text Act that didn’t give him the opportunity to introduce Catholics in public offices.In this period the Parliament was divided into Whigs and Tories. The former derived their namefrom cattle (bestiame) drivers and they were the descendants of the Parliamentarians; they didn’tbelieve in the absolute power of the king and of the Church and thought they had the right toremove the king if it was proved his misgovernment (malgoverno). The Tories instead of derivedtheir name from the Irish name “tory” that translated means “outlaw”, they were the descendants ofthe Royalists and supported the cause of the Church of England, the crown and the landedgentlemen. They held (sostenevano) the view that kings ruled by divine right, which is the will ofGod.When Charles II died, his brother James II took his place, he was so immoral as him, and hewanted to impose the Catholicism in England again. He changed the rights of the Church and of thestate, and put himself against Tories and Whigs. But his son in law (genero) William of Orange,that saw his land in danger, decided to move to London in 1688 helped by the Tories and the Whigsand put in exile the king and his family without firing a single shot. He was named king of Englandand became William III. He with his wife Mary II created a combination between Church,Parliament and Crown and there was a important change in the politic structure in fact the crownwasn’t hereditary but was a choice of Parliament; his power was established by the Bill of Rights of1639 (in this document the king cannot impose taxes, martial law in peace time o keep an armywithout the consent of the Parliament).In this period there was another important document: the Toleration Act that gave all the power tothe Protestants but the Catholics were no more persecuted. The reign of William III and Mary IIwas a period of economic progress until he was succeeded by his sister in law (cognata), Anne. Shewas a obstinate woman, her reign was marked by English intervention against the France in the warof Spanish Succession. It ended with the signing of the Treaties of Utrecht in which England wasrecognized (riconosciuta) as the biggest navy fleet of the nations. LITERATUREThe Restoration was characterized by a break with the past and it introduced innovations. The mostrepresentative poet was Ben Johnson who put the bases of the artistic movement of Neo Classicism.The true spirit of Restoration was satiric; the theatre had a renovation, also the actors roles weredefined; in fact the male characters were played by men and female roles by women.A new character was created: the fop (damerino) who was brilliant and elegant, witty (arguto) andcynical, great and simple; the hero child.The best literary expression was the Comedy of Manners (Commedia delle Maniere). The wordswere more familiar without heroic setting and other realistic elements were the introduction of thesex and money in the representation. Ben Johnson with his Comedy of Manners and specificallywith Comedy of Humours represented his themes in comedy and contemporary some elementsfrom Molière and the Italian Commedia dell’Arte.The sign of Newton was important for the literary production
THE FEATURESThe word “comedy” comes from the Greek comodìa, probably meanings Dinonysiac feast song,generally linked to village feasts. Its features are: • The characters are represented in amusing way, the comedy begins with a misfortune (sventura) but doesn’t end with the dead of the principal character • It represent the falls of the society • It was developed the comic character that have a principal role • The argument is mainly a love – matter (faccenda d’amore)We can distinguish different types of comedies such as: • Romantic, that was developed in Shakespeare times (Romeo and Juliet) • Satiric, that have a moralizing (moralizzante) corpus and represents the human vicesIn the Comedy of Manners the characters belonged (appartengono) to the upper class and the publicwas selected and was composed all by intellectual audience because it was used a formal language.The techniques were ironic and satiric and there was the use of a witty (arguto) prose language,capable of describing in usual terms a particular social behaviour. THE AUGUSTAN AGE (1714 – 1760)This age was called Augustan Age because it established a parallel between the literary productionduring Augustus empire and after the civil wars in Rome and the literary production with the returnof Charles II after the English civil war. It shows some differences from Renaissance and PuritanAge, in fact the model in this period as literary genre acquired a great importance.There was a new house that substitute the Stuart’s House: the Hannover. Anne was the last queenof the Stuart and when she died, her nearest relative was George of Hannover that became GeorgeI. This provoked a change in the court because the king didn’t love England : he preferredGermany. Because he was more interested to German Affairs than English ones, he could no speakEnglish. The Parliament intervened and imposed his supremacy in the court.When in 1715 a Jacobite rebellion (Jacobites, from “Jacobus” the Latin for James, were thesupporters of the Catholic James II) broke out in Scotland, the Parliament had a big role to fight it.The Tory part was weakened (indebolita) by this and the Whigs power grow up; in fact it was theperiod in which the Parliament created some cabinet of ministers that decided about social andpolitical business. At first the cabinets ministers were all similar but later some minister becomingto govern and born the first Prime Minister: Robert Walpole. He was in power for twenty years,and increased the trading outside; it gave a period of richness to the country. The trade wasstimulated by the removal of customs duties (dazi doganali) on exports and on imports of rawmaterials . It create the possibility to put down the taxes of the population and in the same time withthe taxation of coffee, chocolate and tea both checked smuggling (fermò il contrabbando) andincreased government revenue (ricavo). It was also the most important period for industrial field.Walpole organized this that became one of the most important economic period for England. Thenthere was the second Jacobite revolt guided by Charles Edward, a descendant of the Stuart family,that was stopped because either Whigs and Tories didn’t want a return of Catholicism in Englandnot only for the richness but also because they didn’t want to go under the dominion of the catholicFrance or to make alliance with it, that was their great trade rival. When Walpole died the secondPrime Minister was William Pitt, who wanted that Great Britain became economically strong in the
world to compete with the other industrial nations. His mercantilist policy led (conduceva) to a newway of living and to the establishment (istituzione) of the new values of power, wealth (ricchezza)and prestige embodied (incorporati) in the middle classes. The new bourgeois man seeking hisprofits all over the world was reflected in the literary character of the time, Robinson Crusoe (byDaniel Defoe)*. In 1756 the Seven Years War broke out against the France: it was fought all over the worldand concerned with maintaining the balance of power in Europe. The England won and conqueredother lands such us India, Quebec, a part of Africa and the Islands of Guadeloupe. It increasedtrading of sugar, wood, fish and also slaves.It’s important to say that the middle class was more important; they were merchants who creatednew power in society. This social class was called Bath Society: bath was the most fashionable(alla moda) spa (stazione termale) in the 18th century: people went there to take the waters as aremedy for gout or indigestion, but especially for social intercourse (rapporto). So Bath Societybecame the symbol of the coalition between wealthy (ricchi) and gentry (piccola nobiltà).In this period there was a high mortality for children because the middle class wasn’t so rich (it wascomposed by artisans, merchants, bankers and miners (minatori) ) and their children had to work 12hours to day. There was the mob (massa) that was very poor and the whose children can’t study: ifthey don’t died from six - seven years old yet began to work. The miner have a great role becausewe have the introduction of the gold. England opened its doors to literate people that had the possibility to give men way todiscuss: the Coffee House became a new place of communication, based on the meeting of thepersons. Therefore we have the birth of journalism. But this place was only for men and thissituation was very important to underline the female discrimination in the period; the women couldonly married, they cannot go to the university and they had no power in the family. This is themotive because the female novel acquired a great value to identify their role in the society.In the second half of the century an enthusiasm for the genteel education of young girls swept (sispinse) through the middle classes, from the upper regions of affluence and position to the workingclasses. The kind of education these young ladies received soon came under heavy attack frompreachers and moralists, who argued that instruction in ethics and domestic usefulness (utilità),which were the basis of good motherhood (maternità) and happy, ordered homes, was sacrificed forthe acquisition of superficial, genteel accomplishments (abilità), like painting, music, foreignlanguages, and elocution. Toward (verso) the end of the century the previous point of view changed.Woman was a being who can reason and reflect, and feel, and judge, and act; one who can assist herman in his affairs, lighten his cares (mitigare le sue preoccupazioni), strengthen (rafforzare) hisprinciples and educate his children. The figure of the fallen woman was gradually turned into thesentimental picture of Magdalen in literature who complemented (completa) the Madonna. Thesetwo figures were to enjoy (godettero) great popularity during the Romantic Age and the VictorianAge.The 18th century presented itself to the critic in two main blocks: one represented by Neoclassicism,the other as a gradual reaction to the neoclassical contrasts in the form of Early Romanticism. Onthe whole however the new century marked some of the characteristics of the Restoration, like thecynical attitude towards love in society. The democratic wave following the bloody revolution of1688 and the great political and economic power acquired by the middle class, the new notion of thegentleman created new conditions for the literature of the century: • Limitation of nature • The three major aspects of nature: the good, the beautiful and the true that are one • Art and literature are meant (intese) to educate as well as to entertain • Simplicity must be used to a careful (attento) balancing of all elements*Per informazioni sull’autore e l’opera vedi “A EXAMPLE OF NOVEL: ROBINSON CRUSOE by Daniel Defoe”
It was an age of wise traditionalism, of elegance and wit, but also a distinctive moment in themaking of modern England. It was a materialist society; worldly (mondana), pragmatic, responsiveto economic pressure. The state did not deal (tratta) in abstractions such as social justice, equality orfraternity, though it was to protect legal rights. Respect for rights, however, would not tolerateinterference in private property. It was in many ways an extraordinarily free and open age.Enlightened thinkers, from the philosopher Locke to popularizers (divulgatori) such as Addison andGoldsmith, rejected the Calvinist theology of original sin and depravity of man.Optimism encouraged faith (fiducia) in progress and human perfectibility, and made people eager(desiderosi) to try new ways trusting (affidare) their own powers: reason, which made themdifferent from the beast, and, in case of doubt when making a choice or a decision, common sense.Nature also extended to the universe beyond (al di là) the earth. It was seen as the complex systemor set of principles divinely ordained and manifested in the Creation. Man should conform to thissystem, whose interpreters were the moralist and the poet. LITERATUREThe literature of the Augustan Age was characterized by remarkable output in a variety of genres,which reflected the economic and intellectual progress of the period, and an increasing popularinterest in reading. In the country, farmers (agricoltori) and labourers were quite (alquanto)illiterate, while in the towns semi-literacy was commoner than total illiteracy. There were fewschools and the attendance at these schools was usually too short and irregular. Children of thelower classes used to leave school when they were six or seven to start work in factories or in fields.Another factor which limited the reading public was economic consideration: books were veryexpensive. For those of the lower classes there were cheaper (più economiche) forms of printedmaterial. Many of newspapers published short stories and novels in serial form.By far (alla lunga) the largest category of books published in the 18th century, as in previous ages,was religious.The poetry of the age was by no means a secondary genre. Breaking with the tradition ofMetaphysical poetry it continued the poetic trend (tendenza) of the Restoration: the poet’s functionwas to provide (fornire) “social” poetry, that is to say models of refined behaviour presented in aclassical pattern.As for drama, at the beginning of the 18 th century, the public expanded as a result of the alteringstructure of society. At first the performances were limited in scope (portata), but soon a story wastold silently by means of gestures and expressive movement: that was the beginning of pantomime,a form of theatrical representation which owed (doveva) much to the activities of various Frenchand Italian troupes which from season to season entertained London audiences.Another popular kind of play was melodrama, where vice was always punished, sinners reclaimed(recuperati), distressed maidens (fanciulle afflitte) saved, generosity rewarded (ricompensata).Thrills (brividi) and laughter (risata) mingled (mescolati) and the language was emotional andextravagant.The Restoration Comedy of Manners was replaced by the Sentimental Comedy a type of playdealing (che trattava) with everyday problems of family and marriage in clear simple language,which aimed (mirava) at showing virtue triumphant over vice.The absolute leader of English poetry in the first half of the century was Alexander Pope(1688 – 1744). Pope was born by catholic parents and in the period in which Catholicism waspersecuted. His religion debarred (proibiva) him from university education and public office. Hemade personal studies thanks to the help of his friends. His knowledge of classical language offeredhim the possibility to become the translator of Omero’s Iliad and Odyssey.The first newspaper in the modern sense was “The Review” by Daniel Defoe, in which it wassupported the cause of the Whigs. It contained political and economic articles too. Anotherimportant journal for the literary point of vie was the periodical “Essay (estratto)” which attained
(si realizza) in the publication of the “Spectator” by Richard Steele, who also published for sixmonth “The Guardian” that contained moral and politic matters,(faccende) and Joseph Addison.“The Spectator” is the best of all periodical Essays, in it Addison and Steele created a number ofcharacters belonging to the spectator Club; the most famous of theme were: the Templar (thestudent of law), the Clergy man, Sir Andrew Freeport (the new city merchant) and Sir Roger deCoverley (the tory country squire (signorotto) ). They were representatives of the social classes ofthis time; so the purpose of this periodical was to instruct and to improve (far progredire) privateand public moral but also private and public manners (condotte). There was a criticism ofRestoration in morality but one of the ideas main proposed was to establish a model of behaviourfor the new emerging social that did not accept the models of the aristocracy and hadn’t a own one.Then the Essay had a extraordinary importance and influence to elevate the moral links and toimprove the social behaviour of the middle class. THE RISE OF THE NOVELDefoe and Richardson are generally regarded as the fathers of the English novel, though they didnot constitute a literary school. It is possible, however, to state (dichiarare) that some features arecommon to all their novels. The 18th century novelist was the spokesman of the middle classes andhe was mainly directed to a bourgeois public.So the plots which had traditionally formed the backbone (spina dorsale) of English literature forcenturies – plots taken from history, legend and mythology – were abandoned by the new noveliststo write in a simple way in order to be understood even by less well educated readers.The writer aimed (mirava) at realism; he tried to portray (raffigurare) different human experiences,and not only those suited (addicevano) to one particular literary perspective: the realism of thenovel was not linked to the kind of life presented, but to the way it was shown. The subject of thenovel is always the bourgeois man and his problems. All the characters struggle either for survivalor social success, as in Defoe’s and Richardson’s novels, and they can be divided into two groups: • The former was composed by those people who believe in reason, like Robinson Crusoe • The latter by those who cannot control their passions and subordinate reason to their cravings (brame), like Moll FlandersThe fact that characters were given contemporary names and surnames was something new andserved to reinforce the impression of realism.A chronological sequence of events was generally adapted by the novelists.Great attention was paid to the setting. Where the action happened: time and place are consideredtwo different aspects of the same reality. In previous fiction the idea of place had been vague andfragmentary but in the new novels, specific references to names of streets and towns, together withdetailed descriptions of interiors, helped render (rendere) the narrative (racconto) even morerealistic. The writer was omnipresent and the narrator omniscient, and he never abandoned hischaracters.The narrator was the speaking voice of the story and was a function of it, while the author was theperson who wrote the novel. The narrator didn’t take part in the action but ordered the events anddescribed the narrate and the characters. In other words he is the principal organizer of the text.
The narrator* can be defined in terms of: • His position in the story that he narrates • He can be inside or outside it • His degree (grado) of participation in it: he can be protagonist, whiteness or both • He can be obtrusive or unobtrusiveIn a famous work of Forester the aspects of the novels evidence two group of characters: flat andround*.The former are like photographs that can be usually recognized because they always are identical tothemselves. They are characterized by one particular feature either physical or psychological orlinguistic and they never change their behaviour or way to speak, but the situation may to change.In other words they aren’t subjected to an evolution. They are also defined “stereotypes” or moresimply “types” and represent the typical in human nature.The latter instead are modified by events and in the same time they modify events. They had amultiplicity of features that make them life-like; they grow and involve in parallel with theprogression of the story. They are constituted by a combination of physical features such as height,size, the way to dress and psychological ones like vanity, generosity, arrogance and social features(for example social or family relationship). Moreover the round characters have a nickname in forceof their aspect or their personality and speak through language and thoughts. THE FEATURES OF THE NOVELThe novel is fictitious (fittizia) – fiction comes from the Latin word fingere – in fact it depicts(dipinge) imaginary events and characters. However, even though its characters and actions areimaginary, they are in some sense “representative of real life”, since they bear (portano) a importantresemblance (rassomiglianza) to the real. The novel is written in prose, rather than verse, although anovel can include very poetic elements as far as (per quanto) its language is concerned (riguarda).The analysis of a narrative text should start with questions about its content, like: • What the setting in time and place is • Who the characters are • What the text is aboutThe second step to follow is: • Analysis of the narrative mode (dialogue, narration and description) • Analysis of the narrator/point of view • Analysis of the charactersFinally the features of the language, the theme and the message conveyed (trasmesso) by the author.Then a narrative text implies a story, which the author can organize in various ways. However,there is a traditional pattern (sistema) including four stages (fasi): 1. introduction of situation 2. breakdown within (dentro) on the initial situation 3. development of the story to the climax 4. end, where the initial situation can be restored or changed*Per ulteriori informazioni vedi “FEATURES OF THE NOVEL”
A narrative text was organized into:Setting The setting is the place and the time of the history. Place setting can be interior or exteriorand it deals (tratta) with the description of the landscape (paesaggio), interiors and objects. Timesetting usually refers to the time of the day, the season, the year.Story/Plot A narrative text is made up of a sequence of events, the story, that are not alwayspresented in chronological order. The author can combine them in different ways using flashbacks,anticipation of events or digressions, or by omitting details of the story. This original sequence ofevents is the plot.Narrative modes The author chooses the way to tell his story among dialogue, description ornarration. Usually these modes are interwoven (intrecciati) according to the writer’s aim (scopo).Point of view The point of view is the angle/s from which the scene is described and the story told.It is influenced by the kind of narrator.First-person narrator The first-person narrator, which employs (adopera) the “I” mode, cancoincide with the author or a character. The choice of this narrator can have the following functions: • to bring the reader close to the mind and feelings of the narrator • to convey (trasmettere) an impression of reality • to restrict the reader’s viewThird-person narrator The third person narrator knows everything about the actions and thecharacters’ thoughts and intentions; this is why such a narrator is also called “omniscient”. Theomniscient third-person narrator can be obtrusive (invadente) when he addresses the reader directlymaking personal remarks (osservazioni) and digressions or providing a comment on the society ofthe time, on some the characters; or unobtrusive when he is detached and objective and does notinterfere with the story.Characters As in drama, characters are an important ingredient in the world of fiction. Thepresentation of a character can be direct or indirect. Depending on their role in the story there canbe major and minor characters. A further (aggiuntiva) distinction can be made between round andflat characters. The former change their personality as the narration develops and can eveninfluence the plot; the latter do not change throughout the story and are the so-called “stereotypes”.Theme The theme is the ideas the author tries to convey (trasmettere) by means of the story; it canbe overt (esplicito) or covert (implicito), that is to say it can be either consciously intended andindicated by the author, or discovered by the reader/critic as an element in the novel of which eventhe author was unaware (ignaro). The theme contains the message whose interpretation leads to anunderstanding of the meaning of the text.We have some types of novel:The satirical novel Satire* attacks vices and follies, either of individuals or whole communities orgroups, and its tools are those of ridicule, exaggeration, and contempt (disprezzo)The picaresque novel The picaresque novel is built on the tradition of the 16 th century Spanishpicaresque narrative, which portrayed a pìcaro, or vagabond, travelling trough a variety of usually* I concetti di satira, ironia e “humour” sono approfonditi in “SATIRE, IRONY AND HUMOUR”
low life settings. The key aspect of a pìcaro is that he is a minor delinquent whose behaviour is antisocial without being utterly (completamente) vicious. The typical pìcaro lives by minor theft (furto)and he is cynical in his attitude to emotions. The picaresque novel is episodic and normally lacks(difetta) a sophisticated plot or psychologically complex characters.The epistolary novel An epistolary novel is told through letters exchanged between differentcharacters. If the pure epistolary novel is rare after the 18 th century, the form taught (insegnò)novelists how very useful (vantaggiose) letters could be as an element within (entro) the narrativevariety of novel.The anti-novel Anti-novel denotes the sort of novel which deliberately breaks with the traditionalforms of the novel and comments directly upon its fictitious nature or process of composition.The gothic novel This kind of novel is linked to a revival of interest in the Gothic style andarchitecture that occurred in the later 18th century, a revival that can be seen as a precursor ofaspects of Romanticism in its predilection for the wild, the horrific, associated with the medievalperiod. The gothic novel flourished (fiorì) for a limited period, but gothic elements can be found ina wide range (vasta gamma) of fiction in the 19th and 20th centuries, and still survive in today’shorror productions.The historical novel As its name suggest, the historical novel sets its events and characters in awell-defined historical context, and it may include both fictional and real characters.The bildungsroman (novel of formation or education) The German term Bildungsroman is nowgenerally applied to the sort (genere) of novel which concentrates on one character’s developmentfrom early youth to some sort of maturity. Charles Dickens’s novels and James Joyce’s “Portrait ofthe Artist as a Young Man” can both be described as examples of bildungsroman.The regional novel The regional novel focuses its attention on the life of a particular geographicalregion.The psychological novel The psychological novel explores the conscience of the individual, hisimpulses and memories. The plot does not follow a chronological order and the language often turnsout to be obscure or ambiguous.The modernist novel The modernist novel, through the use of the stream (flusso) of consciousnesstechnique, underlines the importance of the flow (circolazione) of images, memories, feelings,associations and expectations caused by an external event in a person’s mind. Thus (pertanto) thepsychic and mental life of the individual became the main object of interest and only what objectivereality provoked actually matters (situazioni), as in James Joyce’s “Ulysses” and in VirginiaWoolf’s “Mrs Dalloway”.The anti-utopian novel The anti-utopian novel of the 1930s and 1940s reflects a state of social andpolitical tension and it contains elements of farce, fantasy satire or sarcasm as in Aldous Huxley’s“Brave New World” and George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. SATIRE, IRONY AND HUMOURSatire has been used since the beginnings of English literature: Chaucer for instance (esempio),satirized the corruption of the Church in his Canterbury Tales. However, the 18 th century was thegolden age of the satire: Pope emulated the satire of Horace to attack the social follies of the time,
and his medium (mezzo) was the heroic couplet; Addison and Steele satirized the customs of theage in prose. There were also a number of forms of theatrical satire: • the Comedy of Humours, mainly associated with Ben Johnson and concerned with basic (basilare) human disposition (inclinazione) • the Comedy of Manners which dealt (trattava) instead with social behaviour.The word satire derives from the Latin lanx satura, a vessel (recipiente) filled (riempito) with theearliest agricultural produce of the year, used to celebrate harvest (raccolto) in seasonal festivals. Afurther (aggiuntivo) meaning is “miscellany of entertainment (divertimento)”. The literature haveinherited (ereditato) two ideas of satire from Roman culture: • the former expresses a basic instinct for comedy through mockery (derisione) of human beings • the latter implies the desire of the poet to instruct his readers by setting moral standards to reform social conduct, or denouncing everything in human nature that he finds distasteful (ripugnante)Irony slightly (leggermente) differs from satire since it is not a direct, open attack. The ironistaddresses the reader in terms which the latter has learnt to receive at their face (apparente) value,and then surprises the reader, who is led (guidato) to recognize the real subject has an unexpectedmeaning. The ironist’s aim (scopo), therefore, is not to change or reform, but simply to createawareness (presa di coscienza) in the reader. There are three kinds of irony: 1. verbal irony in which the writer says one thing and means something completely different 2. dramatic irony in which the reader (or the audience)perceives something which a character does not know 3. irony of situation in which a discrepancy between the expected results of a situation and its actual results is shown.Finally humour differs both from satire and from irony since it does not deride or hint at (allude),but simply evokes laughter (risata) as an end in itself (fine a se stessa). In other words, the humoristsees the faults of his subject but accepts them and laughs at them. A EXAMPLE OF NOVEL: ROBINSON CRUSOE by DANIEL DEFOEDaniel Defoe was son of dissenters and was born in 1660. In his production there are a lot of puritanideas. He was the precursor of journalism and he founded “The Review” that talked about politicaland social arguments, for giving values to the middle class. His main literary works are: CaptainSingleton (a captain who becomes pirate), Moll Flanders (a pickpocket), Roxana (a high societywoman) a Journal of the Plague Year (an account about the 1665 plague) and Robinson Crusoe.During his life he helped William III army and interviewed in civil war, so his production waslinked to real event. And then Robinson Crusoe, his masterpiece, is taken from a story of real eventthat happened in this period and interested a shipwrecked (naufrago). This latter was a Scottishsailor named Alexander Selkirk. He tried to survive alone in the island of Juan Fernandez, near thecoast of Chile, for 5 years. There are two different finals for this story (narrated by Richard Steele): 1. he returned in Scotland 2. he came back on the sea and died before reaching (raggiungere) the coast of Africa
Daniel Defoe took information about these real events and write a story that he named RobinsonKreutznaer; in fact the protagonist was a German man but his surname was anglicised (anglicizzato)in Crusoe. There are some differences with the Steele’s account: Crusoe didn’t remain on the islefor 5 years but for 28 years; the isle is near the coast of Venezuela no of Chile and Crusoe wasn’tborn in Scotland but in York (in 1632), from German father and English mother.At this point novel is divided into three stages: 1. he was a 19 years old who had a contrast with his father and so decided to leave his home in order to travel around the world and to make his fortune. After a series of adventures he finds himself in Brazil where he become a plantation owner; a occupation that gives him prosperity. Then he left for Africa with some other plantation owners to procure slaves to work for him. But it was with this travel that he became a shipwrecked. He arrives on a desert island where he is the only survivor. 2. the second part is in form of journal (diary), in which Crusoe writes about the life on the island, how he uses his strange and intelligence to overcome the difficulties of this situation and to become the master of the island. In this part he met a savage that he named Friday and converted to Christianity teaching him the rudiments of his language and culture, included how to defend himself. 3. in the third part there is the final of the work and tells about day’s rescue and Crusoe’s return to Brazil with Friday and servants. The novel is written in first person in form of spiritual autobiography (as the same structure that we find in Moll Flanders). Every novel of him have a introduction in which he declares that the facts of the story are real, and that he isn’t the author but the editor; so he wanted the function of the journalist while he wrote the novels for give more reality to the works. The style of the narrative is very matter-of-fact (prosaico), without imagination, very material. There aren’t the thoughts and feelings of Crusoe, in fact he generally tells us only about his actions and what physically happens to him. Occasionally he reflects on religious questions; at the regard one of the theme of the novel is the puritan idea of men’s redemption on Earth. Another interesting feature is the organization of the story that is no real novelist plot but is a diary that goes for sequences. There are three interpretations about this novel: 1. A religious allegory; in fact there’s the puritan idea about men’s redemption from sin. The island where Crusoe is shipwrecked is an island of despair (disperazione) when he arrived there. But gradually he transforms it into a paradise of which he’s the master. This redemption is puritan one that is different from Christian: in fact he didn’t ask to God but he realizes himself only with his labour. So this interpretation is also called of “value and labour” 2. An economic allegory; in fact is an allegory of merchant capitalism. The mini civilization that Crusoe established on the island is very similar to the society from which he came. When he arrived on the island he began to transform it to develop its prosperity. Also Friday is like product of this policy. Crusoe’s behaviour is like a business man that starts from nothing and slowly builds himself an empire. The summary is “idea of capitalism” 3. An allegory of British imperialism; in fact the story demonstrates that the white Crusoe, whit his superiority about culture and the richness of his country over the savage, must
civilize and convert him to Christianity. In fact the English government wanted toconquest and to rule a large part of Africa and India. In Robinson Crusoe the savageFriday haven’t voice, in fact he learns to speak when Crusoe teaches him English; this tounderline the superiority of the former on the latter. This is the last critic interpretationgiven to the novel and was called “colonialism”.