Realism In Robinson Crusoe

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2.3. Defoe and Crusoe
Daniel Defoe is honoured as the pioneer of the English realist novel (Hammond 20). He introduced into the literary tradition not only scrupulous descriptions of the reality (Hammond 21), but also a believable and convincing protagonists (Hammond 67, Hammond and Regan 80). Defoe’s writing is characterised by “purity and clarity of description, … sharp focus on things and phenomena, on sequences and exact movements” (Richetti 190). The combination of these elements ensured the verisimilitude (Hammond 67) of his narratives. However, it is important to remember that this realism of the narration is not a mere unbiased reproduction of the reality: according to Richetti, “Defoe’s narrators express a subjectivity rather than an objectivity; the external world as they observe it is filtered through their responses” (186).
Robinson Crusoe is the first novel of Defoe’s (Fabricant 742). Although written and published in 1719 (Fabricant 742) prevailingly from economic reasons (Hammond and Regan 80, Novak 566, Richetti 175), it conquered a big reader audience both at home and on the continent within only a year (Novak 580). Keymer claims that to satisfy the demand, the novel “reappeared in five further authorized editions within four months” (x) after its first
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As already mentioned, in secondary sources there is no information about this function of the italic font during the eighteenth century. Defoe, however, decides to italicise such phrases as “says he” (20), “for Instance” (66), “as I observed” (66), “as I may say” (81), “as it might be said” (99), “that is to say” (100, 129), “that is” (102), “I say” (132), “as I may call it” (165), “as I said before” (186) and some others. The last peculiar use of the font concerns the names of trades; in the text, such words as “Carpenter” (115, 122), “Taylor” (115) or “Basketmaker’s” (91) are invariably
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