Daniel Defoe, orig. Daniel Foe, (born 1660, London, Eng.- died April 24, 1731, London) was a British novelist, a pamphleteer, and a journalist.
A well-educated London merchant, he became an acute economic theorist and began to write eloquent, witty, often audacious tracts on public affairs.
The satire that he published resulted in his being imprisoned in 1703, and his business collapsed. He traveled as a government secret agent while continuing to write prolifically.
In 1704–13 he wrote practically single-handedly the periodical Review, a serious and forceful paper that influenced later essay periodicals such as The Spectator. His Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain, 3 vol. (1724–26), followed several trips to Scotland. Late in life he turned to fiction.
He achieved literary immortality with the novel Robinson Crusoe (1719), which drew partly on memoirs of voyagers and castaways. He is also remembered for the vivid, picaresque Moll Flanders (1722); the nonfictional Journal of the Plague Year (1722), on the Great Plague in London in 1664–65; and Roxana (1724), a prototype of the modern novel.
2. Robinson Crusoe (1719)
The novel, famously, is about how the title character, Robinson Crusoe, becomes marooned on an island off the north-east coast of South America. As a young man, Crusoe had gone to sea in the hope of making his fortune. Crusoe is on a ship bound for Africa, where he plans to buy slaves for his plantations in South America, when the ship is wrecked on an island and Crusoe is the only survivor.
Alone on a desert island, Crusoe manages to survive thanks to his pluck and pragmatism. He keeps himself sane by keeping a diary, manages to build himself a shelter, and finds a way of salvaging useful goods from the wrecked ship, including guns.
Twelve years pass in this way, until one momentous day, Crusoe...