The Illustration of Robinson Crusoe 1719-1920

The Illustration of Robinson Crusoe 1719-1920

£38.00
ISBN: 978-0-901072-67-2

Defoe's Robinson Crusoe has exerted a powerful fascination on generations of readers since its publication in 1719. And not only readers, but artists too; few works have ever been published in so many illustrated editions.

In an analysis of over 100 representative illustrations David Blewett admirably shows both how Crusoe as a figure in the Western imagination and Robinson Crusoe as a text have been viewed and interpreted by illustrators and engravers, not only in the English-speaking world but in Europe – particularly in France – as well.

The visual history of the Crusoe myth is traced through an astonishing series of images: Crusoe as an English Everyman, a romantic hero of Byronic dimensions, a symbol of the human mastery of nature in the French tradition, designed to appeal to children in the mid-nineteenth, century, and an expression of imperialist ambitions at the end of that century. Finally in our century, the illustrations have emphasised yet another aspect of the story – the interior journey into the experience of human isolation.

The author also provides a more complete and accurate checklist of the illustrated editions than any hitherto published, as well as a bibliography of works on book illustration. This study is an invaluable work, not only to fans of Defoe's most famous work, but to everyone interested in the history of book illustration.

More info →