Sunday, July 11, 2021

Robinson Crusoe as private and public figure in Charles Dickens's "Martin Chuzzlewit"

After Tom Pinch, in Charles Dickens's "Martin Chuzzlewit", catches the "pleasant smell of paper freshly pressed" coming out of the bookshops in Salisbury, he experiences a "trying shop", one with children's books, "where poor Robinson Crusoe stood alone in his might". Here, Crusoe is Tom's private figure, who "impressed one solitary footprint on the shore of boyish memory", but later, Tom shares Crusoe with his friend John Westlock, who describes his lodgings as "the sort of impromptu arrangements that might have suggested themselves to [...] Robinson Crusoe." The castaway on his desert island offers Tom Pinch both the private space of reading and the public space of a shared cultural heritage. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 11 July 2021)


Robinson Crusoe (1815)
1815 edition of Robinson Crusoe

No comments: