(born 1660, London, Eng.died April 24, 1731, London) British novelist, pamphleteer, and journalist. A well-educated London merchant, he became an acute economic theorist and began to write eloquent, witty, often audacious tracts on public affairs. A satire he published resulted in his being imprisoned in 1703, and his business collapsed. He traveled as a government secret agent while continuing to write prolifically. In 170413 he wrote practically single-handedly the periodical Review, a serious and forceful paper that influenced later essay periodicals such as The Spectator. His Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain, 3 vol. (172426), followed several trips to Scotland. Late in life he turned to fiction. He achieved literary immortality with the novel Robinson Crusoe (1719), which drew partly on memoirs of voyagers and castaways. He is also remembered for the vivid, picaresque Moll Flanders (1722); the nonfictional Journal of the Plague Year (1722), on the Great Plague in London in 166465; and Roxana (1724), a prototype of the modern novel.
Robinson Crusoe /ˌrɒbɪnsən ˈkruːsoʊ/ is a novel by Daniel Defoe, first published on 25 April 1719. This first edition credited the work's fictional protagonist Robinson Crusoe as its author, and was published under the considerably longer original title The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver'd by Pirates.Epistolary, confessional, and didactic in form, the book is a fictional autobiography of the title character (whose birth name is Robinson Kreutznaer)—a castaway who spends 28 years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers before being rescued.
The story is widely perceived to have been influenced by the life of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish castaway who lived for four years on the Pacific island called "Más a Tierra" (in 1966 its name was changed to Robinson Crusoe Island), Chile. However, other possible sources have been put forward for the text. It is possible, for example, that Defoe was inspired by the Latin or English translations of Ibn Tufail's Hayy ibn Yaqdhan, an earlier novel also set on a desert island. Another source for Defoe's novel may have been Robert Knox's account of his abduction by the King of Ceylon in 1659 in "An Historical Account of the Island Ceylon," Glasgow: James MacLehose and Sons (Publishers to the University), 1911.In his 2003 Book "In Search of Robinson Crusoe", Tim Severin contends that the account of Henry Pitman in a short book chronicling his escape from a Caribbean penal colony and subsequent shipwrecking and desert island misadventures, is the inspiration for the story.
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. 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 numerous sequels and adaptations for stage, film, and television.