Adventures in Criticism eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 236 pages of information about Adventures in Criticism.

[A] “The Life of Daniel Defoe.”  By Thomas Wright, Principal of Cowper School, Olney.  London:  Cassell & Co.

[B] Romances and Narratives by Daniel Defoe.  Edited by George A. Aitken.  Vols. i., ii., and iii.  Containing the Life and Adventures, Farther Adventures, and Serious Reflections of Robinson Crusoe.  With a General Introduction by the Editor.  London:  J.M.  Dent & Co.

[C] Upon this suggestion Mr. Aitken, in a postscript to his seventh volume of the Romances and Narratives, has since remarked as follows:—­

“In a discussion in The Speaker upon Defoe’s supposed period of ‘silence,’ published since the appearance of the first volume of this edition, Mr. Quiller Couch, while agreeing, for the reasons I have given (vol. i. p. lvii.), that there is no mistake in the date of Robinson Crusoe’s departure from his island (December, 1686), has suggested that perhaps the error in the chronology lies, not in the length of time Crusoe is said to have lived on the island, but in the date given for his landing (September, 1659).  That this suggestion is right appears from a passage which has hitherto escaped notice.  Crusoe was born in 1632, and Defoe makes him say (vol. i. p. 147), ’The same day of the year I was born on, viz. the 30th of September, that same day I had my life so miraculously saved twenty-six years after, when I was cast ashore on this island.’  Crusoe must, therefore, have reached his island on September 30, 1658, not 1659, as twice stated by Defoe; and by adding twenty-eight years to 1658 we get 1686, the date given for Crusoe’s departure.
“It is, however, questionable whether this rectification helps us to interpret the allegory in Robinson Crusoe.  It is true that if, in accordance with the ‘key’ suggested by Mr. Wright, we add twenty-seven years to the date of the shipwreck (1658) in order to find the corresponding event in Defoe’s life, we arrive at September, 1685, when Jeffreys was sentencing many of those who—­like Defoe—­took part in Monmouth’s rising.  But we have no evidence that Defoe suffered seriously in consequence of the part he took in this rebellion; and the addition of twenty-seven years to the date of Crusoe’s departure from the island (December, 1686) does not bring us to any corresponding event in Defoe’s own story.  Those who are curious will find the question discussed at greater length in The Speaker for April 13 and 20, and May 4, 1895.”

LAWRENCE STERNE

Dec. 10, 1891.  Sterne and Thackeray.

It is told by those who write scraps of Thackeray’s biography that a youth once ventured to speak disrespectfully of Scott in his presence.  “You and I, sir,” said the great man, cutting him short, “should lift our hats at the mention of that great name.”

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Adventures in Criticism from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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