Robinson Crusoe. Volumes I. & II.

Printed: 1790

Publisher: John Stockdale. London

Dimensions 14 × 22 × 3.5 cm
Language

Language: English

Size (cminches): 14 x 22 x 3.5

£17500.00

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Description

THIS BOOK IS UNIQUE. Hidden scene on the fore page edges (under the gilding) on both volumes.

Tan calf bindings. Gilt embossed edges and centre panel on all sides. Black title plates and gilt banding and titles on the spine. Gilt on all page edges. Dimensions are for one volume. Supplied in a newly made protective box.

Magnificent Fore Edge Edition

Fore-edge painting: With a double concealed fore-edge painting revealing two scenes. In very good condition. The first known example of a disappearing fore-edge painting (where the painting is not visible when the book is closed) dates
to 1649. Around 1750, the subject matter of fore-edge paintings changed from simply decorative or heraldic designs to landscapes, portraits and religious scenes, usually painted in full colour. The technique was popularised in the 18th century by John Brindley (1732-1756), publisher and bookbinder to the Prince of Wales and Edwards of Halifax, a distinguished family of bookbinders and booksellers. The majority of extant examples of fore-edge paintings date to the late 19th and early 20th century on reproductions of books originally published in the early 19th century.

 

 Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Defoe, first published on 25 April 1719. The first edition credited the work’s protagonist Robinson Crusoe as its author, leading many readers to believe he was a real person and the book a travelogue of true incidents.

Epistolary, confessional, and didactic in form, the book is presented as an autobiography of the title character (whose birth name is Robinson Kreutznaer) – a castaway who spends 28 years on a remote tropical desert island near the coasts of Venezuela and Trinidad (roughly resembling Tobago), encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers, before ultimately being rescued. The story has been thought to be based on the life of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish castaway who lived for four years on a Pacific island called “Más a Tierra”, now part of Chile, which was renamed Robinson Crusoe Island in 1966.

Despite its simple narrative style, Robinson Crusoe was well received in the literary world and is often credited as marking the beginning of realistic fiction as a literary genre. It is generally seen as a contender for the first English novel. Before the end of 1719, the book had already run through four editions, and it has gone on to become one of the most widely published books in history, spawning so many imitations, not only in literature but also in film, television, and radio, that its name is used to define a genre, the Robinsonade.

The English novel is an important part of English literature. This article mainly concerns novels, written in English, by novelists who were born or have spent a significant part of their lives in England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland (or any part of Ireland before 1922). However, given the nature of the subject, this guideline has been applied with common sense, and reference is made to novels in other languages or novelists who are not primarily British, where appropriate.

The English novel has generally been seen as beginning with Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719) and Moll Flanders (1722), though John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678) and Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko (1688) are also contenders, while earlier works such as Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte d’Arthur, and even the “Prologue” to Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales have been suggested. Another important early novel is Gulliver’s Travels (1726, amended 1735), by Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift, which is both a satire of human nature, as well as a parody of travellers’ tales like Robinson Crusoe. The rise of the novel as an important literary genre is generally associated with the growth of the middle class in England.

Other major 18th-century English novelists are Samuel Richardson (1689–1761), author of the epistolary novels Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740) and Clarissa (1747–48); Henry Fielding (1707–1754), who wrote Joseph Andrews (1742) and The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (1749); Laurence Sterne (1713–1768), who published Tristram Shandy in parts between 1759 and 1767; Oliver Goldsmith (1728–1774), author of The Vicar of Wakefield (1766); Tobias Smollett (1721–1771), a Scottish novelist best known for his comic picaresque novels, such as The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle (1751) and The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (1771), who influenced Charles Dickens; and Fanny Burney (1752–1840), whose novels “were enjoyed and admired by Jane Austen,” wrote Evelina (1778), Cecilia (1782) and Camilla (1796).

A noteworthy aspect of both the 18th- and 19th- century novel is the way the novelist directly addressed the reader. For example, the author might interrupt his or her narrative to pass judgment on a character, or pity or praise another, and inform or remind the reader of some other relevant issue.

Daniel Defoe (born Daniel Foe; c. 1660 – 24 April 1731) was an English writer, trader, journalist, pamphleteer and spy. He is most famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe, published in 1719, which is claimed to be second only to the Bible in its number of translations. He has been seen as one of the earliest proponents of the English novel, and helped to popularise the form in Britain with others such as Aphra Behn and Samuel Richardson. Defoe wrote many political tracts and was often in trouble with the authorities, and spent a period in prison. Intellectuals and political leaders paid attention to his fresh ideas and sometimes consulted him.

Defoe was a prolific and versatile writer, producing more than three hundred works—books, pamphlets, and journals — on diverse topics, including politics, crime, religion, marriage, psychology, and the supernatural. He was also a pioneer of business journalism and economic journalism.

Aphra Behn (bapt. 14 December 1640– 16 April 1689) was an English playwright, poet, translator and fiction writer from the Restoration era. As one of the first English women to earn her living by her writing, she broke cultural barriers and served as a literary role model for later generations of women authors. Rising from obscurity, she came to the notice of Charles II, who employed her as a spy in Antwerp. Upon her return to London and a probable brief stay in debtors’ prison, she began writing for the stage. She belonged to a coterie of poets and famous libertines such as John Wilmot, Lord Rochester. She wrote under the pastoral pseudonym Astrea. During the turbulent political times of the Exclusion Crisis, she wrote an epilogue and prologue that brought her into legal trouble; she thereafter devoted most of her writing to prose genres and translations. A staunch supporter of the Stuart line, she declined an invitation from Bishop Burnet to write a welcoming poem to the new king William III. She died shortly after.

She is remembered in Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own: “All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn which is, most scandalously but rather appropriately, in Westminster Abbey, for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds.” Her grave is not included in the Poets’ Corner but lies in the East Cloister near the steps to the church.

Samuel Richardson (baptised 19 August 1689 – 4 July 1761) was an English writer and printer best known for three epistolary novels: Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded (1740), Clarissa: Or the History of a Young Lady (1748) and The History of Sir Charles Grandison (1753). He printed almost 500 works in his life, including journals and magazines, working periodically with the London bookseller Andrew Millar. Richardson had been apprenticed to a printer, whose daughter he eventually married. He lost her along with five sons, but remarried and had four daughters who reached adulthood, but no male heirs to continue the print shop. As it ran down, he wrote his first novel at the age of 51 and immediately joined the admired writers of his day. Leading figures he knew included Samuel Johnson and Sarah Fielding, the physicians Behmenist and George Cheyne, and the theologian and writer William Law, whose books he printed. At Law’s request, Richardson printed some poems by John Byrom. In literature he rivalled Henry Fielding; the two responded to each other’s literary styles.

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