December 22nd, 2011
Episode 172 of 550 episodes
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Daniel Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe. Published in 1719, it was an immediate success and is considered the classic adventure story. There are several incidents that may have inspired the tale, although none of them exactly mirrors Defoe's thrilling yet didactic narrative. The plot is now universally known - the sailor stranded on a desert island who learns to tame the environment and the native population. The character of Friday, Crusoe's trusty companion and servant, has become almost as famous as Crusoe himself and their master-servant relationship forms one of the principal themes in the novel. Robinson Crusoe has been interpreted in myriad ways, from colonial fable to religious instruction manual to capitalist tract; although arguably above all of these, it is perhaps best known today as a children's story. With:Karen O'BrienPro-Vice Chancellor for Education at the University of Birmingham Judith HawleyProfessor of Eighteenth-Century Literature at Royal Holloway, University of LondonBob OwensEmeritus Professor of English Literature at the Open UniversityProducer: Natalia Fernandez.