Sunday, March 16, 2014

Book Review - Robinson Crusoe

                                                           (Image of Defoe from Wikipedia)

I just finished listening to the unabridged original version of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe.  It was an amazing story - with so much more depth than I ever knew.   As a child I read the Junior Scholastic version.  Years later I read a similar edition to my grandson.  I thought I knew the story well.  It was only when I read the full unabridged original story as the author intended it that I came to understand it better.

Robinson Crusoe is so much more than an adventure story.  In many ways, it is a deeply religious book. There are many passages throughout the book where Crusoe wrestles with the concept of providence and whether things have happened in his life due to chance or the hand of God.  There is all kind of symbolism and several important themes throughout the novel.

There are also passages about his adventures after his rescue from the island that I have no memory of having been included in the abbreviated children's versions I had sampled the harrowing scene where he and his traveling companions are attacked by wolves in the snowy mountains during their trek to Calaiwhere he plans to take a ship to Dover.

I learned a new word as I was reading the book.....  DeFoe repeatedly uses the expression videlicet, a lovely old English word that I suppose was more common when the book was written (1719).

There have been several movies made of this classic tale including the following:

1997 version,
screenplay by Christopher Loften,
starring Pierce Brosnan.

Opening Scene  HERE

( I LIKE the looks of Sean Conner with long hair in Medicine Man, but this former Bond guy loses his appeal with the shaggy mane)

                            1964 version

                        Starring Robert Hoffman
                           See it HERE


                                                               1954 Version
                                                 starring Dan O'Herlihy

                                                               See it  Here

I have not yet watched the older version, although I may sometime soon.  I was curious about the opening of the 1997 version with Brosnan - that whole duel scene and the woman he wants to wed but can't since her family is rich and his is not....completely made up and has nothing to do with the book.

But then....considering the fact that I've recently read/listened to some old James Bond novels and realized how very little they follow Ian Flemming's original works, I should not be surprised.

Bottom line - I very much enjoyed the BOOK Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe.  Over 200 years later, it's still a captivating read.  The movies?   Dunno... my jury is still out there.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I'll have to read the unabridged version. Love that word, videlicet. Never heard of it before. I read the unabridged Count of Monte Cristo a while back. Loved it.