Enlightenment and Romanticism

Topics: Robinson Crusoe, Novel, Daniel Defoe Pages: 3 (808 words) Published: November 25, 2012
Constructions of reading/writing in the British literature of the Enlightenment and Romanticism Robinson Crusoe, which was written by Daniel Defoe, was published in 1719. At the time of its publish, a revolution was taking place all across Europe known as the Enlightenment period. The Enlightenment period was a time of conflict, suffering, and also a time of growth for society. This revolutionary time period gave birth to such terms as deism, rationalism, skepticism, and empiricism. The period also saw an uprising in a new ideology towards human thought. Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe is primarily defined by a mythic conversion experience as the novel's core narrative structure traces the hero's transition from social isolation and disconnection to self-actualisation and social reintegration. As sole survivor of a shipwreck, Crusoe has to survive in, and adapt to a space which he initially experiences as alien and threatening, and he gradually begins to transform himself along with his environment. By the time he leaves the island 28 years later, he has become a resourceful and capable ruler over an economically viable cultural monopoly.

This conversion process is exemplified by Crusoe's appropriation of the island, as this space becomes the site onto which all of his anxieties and aspirations are inscribed. Consequently, the island is "transformed" from untamed wilderness into a cultivated "paradise" that bears testament to both Enlightenment rectitude and Western accomplishment. As such, the central aim of this article is to examine how Crusoe's conversion of an unknown, marginal and ambiguous geographical locale into a prototypical British colony establishes a monologic world order on the island that defines identity as fixed and the island space as contained. In the Bakhtinian sense, a monologic world is closed, static, and limiting in the way in which it denies the Other. In Robinson Crusoe, a monologic world view is manifested by Crusoe's...
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