The Swiss Family Robinson

by Johann David Wyss, Johann Rudolf Wyss

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Why is The Swiss Family Robinson considered a classic novel in American Literature?

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Interestingly, this book wasn't written by an American; it was written in 1812 by Johann David Wyss, a Swiss author. It was translated into English two years later, and it has become an incredibly popular book. Perhaps people might assume it is an American story because of the 1960 film version of it produced by Disney. As for why it is such a classic among readers, that probably has to do with a couple of things. First, Wyss modeled the story after Robinson Crusoe. That is a highly heralded book, and it also sets Wyss's story on familiar ground to many readers. Another factor for the book being so loved by readers across generations and cultures is that Wyss wanted to write a book for the benefit of his four sons. He wanted a story that taught about family values, being a good husband, and being independent and self-reliant. He also wanted to teach his sons about nature. These are all fairly universal, long-standing, concrete values that fathers want to teach their kids, and I think that is the main reason why this book continues to be a favorite among parents and kids alike.

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