Robinson Crusoe did not revolutionize the book industry in London, but it was a great commercial success; in fact, a second edition was released within only two weeks after the first had been published. Pirated editions came out within hours of the book's release. One of these pirated editions, known as the 'O' edition, is extremely valuable today.
Critical reaction to Robinson Crusoe is generally negative or patronizing. Many early commentators derided the novel as commercial and unrefined. Yet many commentators celebrated the adventurous hero, Robinson Crusoe.
Charles Gildon launched the first sustained attack on Defoe's novel with The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Mr. D-De F-, in 1719. In his critique, Gildon focuses on the novel's inaccuracies, as well as a "Looseness and Incorrectness of Stile."
His most interesting criticism, however, charges Defoe with slander in regards to English shipping practices. He contends that there is "no Man so ignorant as not to know that our Navigation produces both Safety and our Riches and that whoever therefore shall endeavor to discourage this, is so far a profest Enemy of his Country' s Prosperity and Safety." Little did Gildon, or...
(The entire section is 715 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Robinson Crusoe Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!