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Friday’s Library Snapshot … Robinson Crusoe

March 15, 2013

Here at the Special Collections we have a collection of a little under 2000 editions and retellings of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. Some dating back the middle 18th century.  It is being added to, catalogued, well cared for and frequently referred to.  However it is a poor relation to some of the other collections that are perhaps more academically or widely promoted.
So today I celebrate the life and surprising adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, a mariner : who lived for 28 years alone on an uninhabited island, off the coast of America, near the mouth of the great river of Oroonoque. He was the only survivor when his ship was wrecked on the rugged coast; he tells how he was strangely rescued by pirates.

Images from

The life and adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, now first correctly reprinted from the original edition of 1719 with introduction by William Lee and illustrations by  Ernest Griset (c1800)

Robinson Crusoe in words of one syllable by Mary Godolphin (1868)

The life and strange surprising adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York Mariner written by Daniel Defoe, illustrations by E. McKnight Kauffer; text edited by Kathleen Campbell. (1929)

It has not gone unnoticed that there are some illustrators mentioned that deserve more than a name … E McKnight Kauffer is known for his posters for Shell and the London Underground, I have yet to discover the illustrator for Mary Godolphin’s edition.  Ernest Grisit was a French children’s illustrator highly regarded by Walter Crane.  So I am not without research material for the next few weeks.

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