The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
Robinson Crusoe, Defoe's first novel, written when he was nearly sixty, first appeared in 1719. Based on the four years' residence of Alexander Selkirk on the island of Juan Fernandez, it tells how Crusoe was cast away, and, with the help of a few stores and utensils saved from the shipwreck, built a house, tamed goats, constructed a boat, saved Man Friday from death at the hands of cannibals, and was eventually rescued by an English ship. Defoe was the pioneer of fictional realism, and he made the story, which is written in the first person, sound so authentic that it was generally believed to be true, and had an immediate success. Though it was originally intended for adults, Robinson Crusoe has had lasting popularity as a children's book, and has inspired many imitations. Defoe himself wrote two sequels.