Full Online Books
Authors Authors Short Stories Short Stories Long Stories Long Stories Funny Stories Funny Stories Love Stories Love Stories Stories For Kids Stories For Kids Poems Poems Essays Essays Nonfictions Nonfictions Plays Plays Folktales Folktales Fairy Tales Fairy Tales Fables Fables Learning Kitchen Learning Kitchen
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Free Classified Website Without Registration Free Classified Website Daniel Company
Twitter Twitter Add book
Full Online Book HomeEssaysRobinson Crusoe And Gulliver's Travels
Famous Authors (View All Authors)
Robinson Crusoe And Gulliver's Travels Post by :Garland Category :Essays Author :George Hamlin Fitch Date :November 2011 Read :4455

Click below to download : Robinson Crusoe And Gulliver's Travels (Format : PDF)

Robinson Crusoe And Gulliver's Travels


Two famous books that seem to follow naturally after Pilgrim's Progress are Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Swift's Gulliver's Travels. Not to be familiar with these two English masterpieces is to miss allusions which occur in everyday reading even of newspapers and magazines. Probably not one American boy in one thousand is ignorant of Robinson Crusoe. It is the greatest book of adventure for boys that has ever been written, because it relates the novel and exciting experiences of a castaway sailor on a solitary island in a style so simple that a child of six is able to understand it. Yet the mature reader who takes up Robinson Crusoe will find it full of charm, because he can see the art of the novelist, revealed in that passion for minute detail to which we have come to give the name of realism, and that spiritual quality which makes the reader a sharer in the fears, the loneliness and the simple faith of the sailor who lived alone for so many years on Juan Fernandez Island.

In all English literature there is nothing finer than the descriptions of Robinson Crusoe's solitary life, his delight in his pets, and his care and training of Friday. Swift's work, on the other hand, is not for children, although young readers may enjoy the ludicrous features of Gulliver's adventures. Back of these is the bitter satire on all human traits which no one can appreciate who has not had hard experience in the ways of the world. These two books are the masterpieces of their authors, but if any one has time to read others of their works he will be repaid, for both made noteworthy contributions to the literature that endures.

Daniel Defoe, the son of a butcher, was born in 1661 and died in 1731. Much of his career is still a puzzle to literary students because of his extraordinary passion for secrecy. He gained no literary fame until after fifty years of age, although he had written many pamphlets and had conducted a review which gave to Addison the idea of The Spectator. Defoe engaged in mercantile business and failed. He also wrote much for the Government, his pungent and persuasive style fitting him for the career of a pamphleteer. But his independence and his lack of tact caused him to lose credit at court and he fell back upon literature. He may be called the first of the newspaper reporters, before the day of the daily newspaper, and he first saw the advantage of the interview. No one has ever surpassed him in the power of making an imaginary narrative seem real and genuine by minute detail artfully introduced.

The English-reading public was captured by Robinson Crusoe. Four editions were called for in four months, and Defoe met the demand for more stories from his pen by issuing in the following year Duncan Campbell, Captain Singleton and Memoirs of a Cavalier. It is evident that Defoe had written these works in previous years and had not been encouraged to print them. Readers of today seldom look into these books, but the Memoirs are noteworthy for splendid descriptions of fights between Roundheads and Cavaliers, and Captain Singleton contains a memorable narrative of an expedition across Africa, then an unknown land, which anticipated many of the discoveries of Mungo Park, Bruce, Speke, and Stanley.

Defoe's other works are Moll Flanders, Colonel Jack, Roxana, and Journal of the Plague Year. Years ago I read all the novels of Defoe, taking them up at night after work hours. They are not to be commended as books that will induce sleep, because they are far too entertaining. Defoe's story of the great plague in London is far more striking than the records of those who actually lived through the terrible months when a great city was converted into a huge charnel-house by the pestilence that walketh by noonday. Pepys in his Diary has many passages on the plague, but these do not appeal to one as Defoe's story does, probably because Pepys did not have the literary faculty.

The three other stories all deal with life in the underworld of London. Defoe in Moll Flanders and Roxana depicts two types of the courtesan and, despite several coarse scenes, the narratives of the lives of these women are singularly entertaining. The only dull spots are those in which he indulges in his habit of drawing pious morals from the vices of his characters. From these stories one may get a better idea of the London of the early part of the eighteenth century than from books which were specially written to describe the customs and manners of the time, because Defoe regarded nothing as too trivial to set down in his descriptions.

Defoe wrote his masterpiece from materials furnished by a sailor, Alexander Selkirk, who returned to London after spending many years of solitude on the Island of Juan Fernandez. The records of the time give a brief outline of his adventures, and there is no question that Defoe interviewed this man and received from his lips the suggestion of his immortal story. But everything that has made the book a classic for three hundred years was furnished by Defoe himself.

The life of the story lies in the artfully written details of the daily life of the sailor from the time when he was cast ashore on the desolate island. Even the mature reader takes a keen interest in the salvage by Crusoe of the many articles which are to prove of the greatest value to him, while to any healthy child this is one of the most absorbing stories of adventure ever written. The child cannot appreciate Crusoe's mental and moral attitude, but the mature reader sees between the lines of the solitary sailor's reflexions the lessons which Defoe learned in those hard years when everything he touched ended in failure.

Jonathan Swift may be bracketed with Defoe, because he was born in 1667 and died in 1745, only fourteen years after death claimed the author of Robinson Crusoe. As Defoe is known mainly by his story of the island castaway, so Swift is known by his bitter satire, Gulliver's Travels, although he was a prolific writer of political pamphlets. Swift is usually regarded as an Irishman, but he was of English stock, although by chance he happened to be born in Ireland. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and he had the great advantage of several years' residence at the country seat of Sir William Temple, one of the most accomplished men of his time.

There he was associated with Esther Johnson, a poor relation of Temple's who later became the Stella who inspired his journal. Swift, through the influence of Temple, hoped to get political preferment, but though he wrote many pamphlets and a strong satire in verse, The Tale of a Tub, his hopes of office were disappointed. Finally he obtained a living at Laracor, in Meath, and there he preached several years, making frequent visits to London and Dublin.

Like Defoe, Swift wrote English that was modern in its simplicity and directness. He never indulged in florid metaphor or concealed his thought under verbiage. Everything was clear, direct, incisive. While Defoe accepted failure frankly and remained untinged with bitterness, Swift seemed to store up venom after every defeat and every humiliation, and this poison he injected into his writings.

Although a priest of the church, he divided his attentions for years between Stella, the woman he first met at Sir William Temple's, and Vanessa, a young woman of Dublin. He was reported to have secretly married Stella in 1716, but there is no record of the marriage. Seven years later he broke off all relations with Vanessa because she wrote to Stella asking her if she were married to Swift, and this rupture brought on the woman's death. Stella's death followed soon after, and the closing years of Swift were clouded with remorse and fear of insanity.

(Illistration (with text):

Remote Nations


First a SURGEON, and then a CAPTAIN
of several SHIPS.


Printed for BENJ. MOTTE, at the
Temple-Gate in Fleet-Street.


In Gulliver's Travels Swift wrote several stories of the adventures of an Englishman who was cast away on the shores of Lilliput, a country whose people were only six inches tall; then upon Brobdingnag, a land inhabited by giants sixty feet high; then upon Laputa, a flying island, and finally upon the land of the Houyhnhnms, where the horse rules and man is represented by a degenerate creature known as a Yahoo, who serves the horse as a slave. In the first two stories Gulliver's satire is amusing, but the picture of the old people in Laputa who cannot die and of the Yahoos, who have every detestable vice, are so bitter that they repel any except morbid readers. Yet the style never lacks clearness, simplicity and force, and one feels in reading these tales that he is listening to the voice of a master of the English tongue.

(The end)
George Hamlin Fitch's essay: Robinson Crusoe And Gulliver's Travels

If you like this book please share to your friends :

Macaulay's Essays In European History Macaulay's Essays In European History

Macaulay's Essays In European History
THE FOREMOST ESSAYIST IN ENGLISH LITERATURE--HIS STYLE AND LEARNING HAVE MADE MACAULAY A FAVORITE FOR OVER A HALF CENTURY.Macaulay belonged to the nineteenth century, as he was born in 1800, but in his cast of mind, in his literary tastes and in his intense partisanship he belonged to the century that includes Swift, Johnson and Goldsmith. He stands alone among famous English authors by reason of his prodigious memory, his wide reading, his oratorical style and his singular ascendancy over the minds of young students. The only writers of modern times who can be classed with him as

Old Dr. Johnson And His Boswell Old Dr. Johnson And His Boswell

Old Dr. Johnson And His Boswell
HIS GREAT FAME DUE TO HIS ADMIRER'S BIOGRAPHY--BOSWELL'S WORK MAKES THE DOCTOR THE BEST KNOWN LITERARY MAN OF HIS AGE.The last of the worthies of old English literature is Dr. Samuel Johnson, whose monumental figure casts a long shadow over most of his contemporaries. The man whom Boswell immortalized and made as real to us today as though he actually lived and worked and browbeat his associates in our own time, is really the last of the great eighteenth century writers in style, in ways of thought and in feeling. Gibbon, who was his contemporary,