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Book History 9 (2006) 89-130



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Un-Erasing Crusoe

Farther Adventures in the Nineteenth Century

Cru[soe].… come Friday, pull out the Books, you have both Volumes, have you not Friday?

Fri[day]. Yes Master, and me will make him swallow his own Vomit.… Swallow, swallow, Father D[a]n, your Writings be good for the Heartburn, swallow, Father D—n—so me have cram'd down one Volume, must he have the other now Master?

Cru. Yes, yes, Friday, or else the Dose will not be compleat, and so perhaps mayn't work and pass thro' him kindly.1

For nearly a century the vast majority of Crusonian criticism has not only overlooked Daniel Defoe's The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719), the second volume of his Crusoe trilogy, it has effectively erased it. Although for two hundred years it was widely read, considered an essential component of the Crusoe story, and published with The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719) more often than the first volume was published on its own, The Farther Adventures was almost entirely eliminated after the Great War. Seldom since published, not only has the novel been cast aside, so too has its long history—by critics who are unaware that the Crusoe of our predecessors was a tale that included The [End Page 89] Farther Adventures. In this essay, I aim to recover Crusoe's lost past and, in particular, to document the insistent presence of The Farther Adventures throughout the nineteenth century. I offer statistics regarding the trilogy's publication; a description of how the rapid segregation of the third volume, Serious Reflections During the Life and Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1720), reinforced the connection between the first two; explications of nineteenth-century texts; and an explanation of how bowdlerizations, continental influences, abridgements, and children's versions of Crusoe ultimately contributed to the separation of The Farther Adventures from the first volume. I conclude by briefly historicizing its erasure and suggesting some possible reasons as to why both readers and publishers eventually cast the second-volume mariner-merchant out to sea, so that finally even critics came to overlook the traces of his footmarks in the sand.

My charts of the publication history of volumes 1, 2, and 3 (Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5),2 which illustrate the inclusion of The Farther Adventures in Crusoe publications through World War I, are based on an analysis of Robert W. Lovett's Robinson Crusoe: A Bibliographical Checklist of English Language Editions, 1719–1979.3 Lovett lists 1198 editions of Crusoe published between 1719 and 1979. My charts, which do not begin until 1720, since it was not until then that all three volumes were simultaneously in print, include 1025 editions,4 all listed by Lovett; and although I discuss seven editions not listed by Lovett, who admittedly includes only "as many English language editions as [he] can find or about which [he has] sufficient bibliographical information" (L, xiii), they are not represented in the charts.5 Lovett limits his checklist to the first volume of Crusoe, "published by W. Taylor on April 25, 1719, and all subsequent editions whether abridged, modified, adapted, or epitomized, without respect to purity of text, and under whatever title, so long as it can be identified as Defoe's narrative of the man on the island" (L, xiii). While Lovett's checklist does not include editions of the second and third volumes published independently of the first,6 he does mention the latter two volumes "when they are part of a set" and describes them—for instance, how many pages they occupy in a given edition—"when the several [or the first two] parts are printed as a single narrative" (L, xiv).

My calculations include reissues as well as abridgements7 of fifty pages or more.8 They include publications of the text(s) in anthologies and collections,9 but do not include variants, newspaper printings, or cartoons of any length. They are necessarily estimates, for several reasons. Due both to the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1499
Print ISSN
1098-7371
Pages
pp. 89-130
Launched on MUSE
2006-09-25
Open Access
No
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