Crusoe: Daniel Defoe, Robert Knox And The Creation Of A Myth

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Random House, Jun 30, 2011 - Literary Criticism - 352 pages
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It is January 1719 and Daniel Defoe, almost sixty, sits at a table, writing. He is troubled with gout and debt, but for now is preoccupied with a younger man on a barren shore – Robinson Crusoe, for which he will principally be remembered.

Several miles south, an old man, Robert Knox, is bent over a heavy volume. It is Historical Relation, his account of being held captive on Ceylon, published forty years ago after he escaped and returned to England. It has long been out of print, but a copy perhaps sits on the desk of Daniel Defoe as he writes.

Where did Crusoe come from? And what is the secret of his endurance? Crusoe explores the intertwined lives of two real men – Daniel Defoe and Robert Knox – and the character and book that emerged from their peculiar conjunction. It is the biography of a book and its hero, the story of Defoe, the man who wrote Robinson Crusoe, and of Robert Knox, the man who was Crusoe.

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Crusoe: Daniel Defoe, Robert Knox, and the Creation of a Myth

User Review  - Margaret Heilbrun - Book Verdict

Daniel Defoe was a pioneer of the novel, writing his first one, Robinson Crusoe (1719), when he was about 60. What inspired that story, which, like Defoe's other major fiction, has remained in print ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

Born and educated in America, Katherine Frank is the author of several acclaimed biographies - of Lucie Duff Gordon, Emily Bronte, Mary Kingsley and Indira Gandhi. She lives in England.

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