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Robinson Crusoe

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Genere: Avventura
Lingua: inglese
Lunghezza: circa 123700 parole (tempo di lettura: 386-562 minuti)
Prezzo: Gratis
Estratto

Chapter I
Start in life



I WAS born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family, though not of that country, my father being a foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull. He got a good estate by merchandise, and leaving off his trade, lived afterwards at York, from whence he had married my mother, whose relations were named Robinson, a very good family in that country, and from whom I was called Robinson Kreutznaer; but, by the usual corruption of words in England, we are now called - nay we call ourselves and write our name - Crusoe; and so my companions always called me.

I had two elder brothers, one of whom was lieutenant-colonel to an English regiment of foot in Flanders, formerly commanded by the famous Colonel Lockhart, and was killed at the battle near Dunkirk against the Spaniards. What became of my second brother I never knew, any more than my father or mother knew what became of me.

Being the third son of the family and not bred to any trade, my head began to be filled very early with rambling thoughts. My father, who was very ancient, had given me a competent share of learning, as far as house-education and a country free school generally go, and designed me for the law; but I would be satisfied with nothing but going to sea; and my inclination to this led me so strongly against the will, nay, the commands of my father, and against all the entreaties and persuasions of my mother and other friends, that there seemed to be something fatal in that propensity of nature, tending directly to the life of misery which was to befall me.

My father, a wise and grave man, gave me serious and excellent counsel against what he foresaw was my design. He called me one morning into his chamber, where he was confined by the gout, and expostulated very warmly with me upon this subject. He asked me what reasons, more than a mere wandering inclination, I had for leaving father's house and my native country, where I might be well introduced, and had a prospect of raising my fortune by application and industry, with a life of ease and pleasure. He told me it was men of desperate fortunes on one hand, or of aspiring, superior fortunes on the other, who went abroad upon adventures, to rise by enterprise, and make themselves famous in undertakings of a nature out of the common road; that these things were all either too far above me or too far below me; that mine was the middle state, or what might be called the upper station of low life, which he had found, by long experience, was the best state in the world, the most suited to human happiness, not exposed to the miseries and hardships, the labour and sufferings of the mechanic part of mankind, and not embarrassed with the pride, luxury, ambition, and envy of the upper part of mankind. He told me I might judge of the happiness of this state by this one thing - viz. that this was the state of life which all other people envied; that kings have frequently lamented the miserable consequence of being born to great things, and wished they had been placed in the middle of the two extremes, between the mean and the great; that the wise man gave his testimony to this, as the standard of felicity, when he prayed to have neither poverty nor riches.

He bade me observe it, and I should always find that the calamities of life were shared among the upper and lower part of mankind, but that the middle station had the fewest disasters, and was not exposed to so many vicissitudes as the higher or lower part of mankind; nay, they were not subjected to so many distempers and uneasinesses, either of body or mind, as those were who, by vicious living, luxury, and extravagances on the one hand, or by hard labour, want of necessaries, and mean or insufficient diet on the other hand, bring distemper upon themselves by the natural consequences of their way of living; that the middle station of life was calculated for all kind of virtue and all kind of enjoyments; that peace and plenty were the handmaids of a middle fortune; that temperance, moderation, quietness, health, society, all agreeable diversions, and all desirable pleasures, were the blessings attending the middle station of life; that this way men went silently and smoothly through the world, and comfortably out of it, not embarrassed with the labours of the hands or of the head, not sold to a life of slavery for daily bread, nor harassed with perplexed circumstances, which rob the soul of peace and the body of rest, nor enraged with the passion of envy, or the secret burning lust of ambition for great things; but, in easy circumstances, sliding gently through the world, and sensibly tasting the sweets of living, without the bitter; feeling that they are happy, and learning by every day's experience to know it more sensibly,

After this he pressed me earnestly, and in the most affectionate manner, not to play the young man, nor to precipitate myself into miseries which nature, and the station of life I was born in, seemed to have provided against; that I was under no necessity of seeking my bread; that he would do well for me, and endeavour to enter me fairly into the station of life which he had just been recommending to me; and that if I was not very easy and happy in the world, it must be my mere fate or fault that must hinder it; and that he should have nothing to answer for, having thus discharged his duty in warning me against measures which he knew would be to my hurt; in a word, that as he would do very kind things for me if I would stay and settle at home as he directed, so he would not have so much hand in my misfortunes as to give me any encouragement to go away; and to close all, he told me I had my elder brother for an example, to whom he had used the same earnest persuasions to keep him from going into the Low Country wars, but could not prevail, his young desires prompting him to run into the army, where he was killed; and though he said he would not cease to pray for me, yet he would venture to say to me, that if I did take this foolish step, God would not bless me, and I should have leisure hereafter to reflect upon having neglected his counsel when there might be none to assist in my recovery.

I observed in this last part of his discourse, which was truly prophetic, though I suppose my father did not know it to be so himself - I say, I observed the tears run down his face very plentifully, especially when he spoke of my brother who was killed: and that when he spoke of my having leisure to repent, and none to assist me, he was so moved that he broke off the discourse, and told me his heart was so full he could say no more to me.

...continua...

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:: Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe was a pioneering novelist, pamphleteer, journalist, secret agent. He was the son of a butcher: James Foe, and Defoe used that form of his surname until he was about fortythree.
He studied at Charles Morton's Academy, London, and was educated for the Presbyterian ministry, but in 1682 he abandoned the idea and went into business as a hosiery merchant in Cornhill.
After serving briefly as a soldier in the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion, he became well established as a merchant and travelled widely in England, as well as on the Continent.
He tried his hand at different kids of work and went bankrupt.
In 1684 he married Mary Tuffley, they have two sons and five daughters.
Defoe gained his first literary success in 1708, with The True-born Englishman. It was a satirical poem which stressed the fact that the English are a mixed race and defended the protestant king William III against attacks on his foreign nationality.
This poem was followed by the pamphlet The Shortest way with the Dissenters; he mimicked the extreme attitudes of High Anglican Tories and pretended to argue for the extermination of all Dissenters. Defoe was imprisoned and pilloried, but he was regarded by the people as a martyr and, while in the pillory, he was pelted with flowers.
While still in prison he started his newspaper The Review, which he continued to publish unaided by other writers for more than nine years.
When he left prison, it appears he was employed as a secret agent and played some part behind the scenes in bringing about the union between England and Scotland in 1707.
He achieved literary immortality when in April 1719 he published Robinson Crusoe, which was based partly on the memoirs of voyagers and castaways, such as Alexander Selkirk. It appeared when he was about sixty.
Employing a first-person narrator and apparently genuine journal entries, Defoe created a realistic frame for the novel, which distinguished it from its predecessors.
By giving a vivid reality to a theme with large mythic implications, the story has since fascinated generations of readers as well as authors like Joachim Heinrich Campen, Jules Verne, R.L. Stevenson, J.M. Coetzee, and other creators of Robinsonade stories.
He than wrote and published in rapid succession a series of novels, mostly in autobiographical form, which bore some analogy to his masterpiece, as well as tales of rogues.
Chief among such works are: Capitain Singleton, containing a vivid account of travels in Africa.; Moll Flanders ; Colonel Jack; Journal of the Plague Year. His last great work: Roxana, appeared in 1724.
In 1720 Defoe had ceased to be politically controversial in his writings, and he produced several historical works, a guide book: A Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain (1724-27), The Great Law of Subordination (1724) (ctr. non citata nel testo di Praz), considered, an examination of the treatment of servants, and The Complete English Tradesman (1726).
Defoe produced in his last years also works involving the supernatural, The Political History of the Devil (1726) and An Essay on the History and Reality of apparitions (1727).
Over 200 books and pamphlets are attributed to him.
He died on 26 April 1731 in his lodgings in Ropemaker's Alley, Moorfields.

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