Books

Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe's great masterpiece, in a gorgeous new clothbound edition designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith. These delectable and collectible Penguin editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design

'I walk'd about on the shore, lifting up my hands, and my whole being, as I may say, wrapt up in the contemplation of my deliverance ... reflecting upon all my comrades that were drown'd, and that there should not be one soul sav'd but my self ... '

Who has not dreamed of life on an exotic isle, far away from civilization? Here is the novel which has inspired countless imitations by lesser writers, none of which equal the power and originality of Defoe's famous book. Robinson Crusoe, set ashore on an island after a terrible storm at sea, is forced to make do with only a knife, some tobacco, and a pipe. He learns how to build a canoe, make bread, and endure endless solitude. That is, until, twenty-four years later, when he confronts another human being. First published in 1719, Robinson Crusoe has been praised by such writers as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Johnson as one of the greatest novels in the English language.

'Robinson Crusoe has a universal appeal, a story that goes right to the core of existence' Simon Armitage

Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Defoe

The Penguin English Library Edition of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

'I walk'd about on the shore, lifting up my hands, and my whole being, as I may say, wrapt up in the contemplation of my deliverance ... reflecting upon all my comrades that were drown'd, and that there should not be one soul sav'd but my self ... '

Who has not dreamed of life on an exotic isle, far away from civilization? Here is the novel which has inspired countless imitations by lesser writers, none of which equal the power and originality of Defoe's famous book. Robinson Crusoe, set ashore on an island after a terrible storm at sea, is forced to make do with only a knife, some tobacco, and a pipe. He learns how to build a canoe, make bread, and endure endless solitude. That is, until, twenty-four years later, when he confronts another human being. First published in 1719, Robinson Crusoe has been praised by such writers as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Johnson as one of the greatest novels in the English language.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

Stop What You’re Doing and Read…Banned Books: Lady Chatterley's Lover & Moll Flanders

D. H. Lawrence (and others)

To mark the publication of Stop What You're Doing and Read This!, a collection of essays celebrating reading, Vintage Classics are releasing 12 limited edition themed ebook 'bundles', to tempt readers to discover and rediscover great books.

LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER
INTRODUCED BY BLAKE MORRISON
Clifford Chatterley returns from the First World War as an invalid. Constance nurses him and tries to be the dutiful wife. However, childless and listless she feels oppressed by their marriage and their isolated life. Partly encouraged by Clifford to seek a lover, she embarks on a passionate affair with the gamekeeper, Mellors. Through their liaison Lawrence explores the complications of sex, love and class. Written in 1928 and subsequently banned, Lady Chatterley's Lover is one of the most subversive novels in English literature.

MOLL FLANDERS
These are the fortunes and misfortunes of Moll Flanders: born in Newgate Prison, twelve years a prostitute, five times a wife (once to her own brother), twelve years a thief and eight years a transported felon in Her Majesty's colony of Virginia. Daniel Defoe's rollicking tale presents life in the prisons, alleyways and underworlds of eighteenth-century London, and gives us Moll - scandalous, unscrupulous and utterly irresistible.

Moll Flanders

Daniel Defoe

These are the fortunes and misfortunes of Moll Flanders: born in Newgate Prison, twelve years a prostitute, five times a wife (once to her own brother), twelve years a thief and eight years a transported felon in Her Majesty's colony of Virginia. Daniel Defoe's rollicking tale presents life in the prisons, alleyways and underworlds of eighteenth-century London, and gives us Moll - scandalous, unscrupulous and utterly irresistible.

Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Defoe

Robinson Crusoe runs away from home to join the navy. After a series of adventures at sea, he is shipwrecked in a devastating storm, and finds himself alone on a remote desert island. He remains there many years, building a life for himself in solitude, until the day he discovers another man's footprint in the sand...

Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Defoe (and others)

Young Robinson Crusoe has a burning ambition to be a sailor. Paying no attention to his parents’ warnings he runs away to sea to embark on a series of thrilling adventures: struggles with Barbary pirates, a shipwreck and the extraordinary meeting with Man Friday... Roy Marsden plays the older Robinson Crusoe looking back on a life of recklessness, daring and adventure – and the survival of twenty-eight years, two months and nineteen days on a desert island. Based on the real-life adventures of Alexander Selkirk, Robinson Crusoe was one of the very first adventure stories to be published in English literature. It remains as gripping today as it did on first publication in 1719, and this enthralling dramatisation perfectly evokes the excitement and adventure of the original book.

2 CDs. 2 hrs.

The Storm

Daniel Defoe (and others)

On the evening of 26th November 1703, a cyclone from the north Atlantic hammered into southern Britain at over seventy miles an hour, claiming the lives of over 8,000 people. Eyewitnesses reported seeing cows left stranded in the branches of trees and windmills ablaze from the friction of their whirling sails. For Defoe, bankrupt and just released from prison for seditious writings, the storm struck during one of his bleakest moments.
But it also furnished him with the material for his first book, and in his powerful depiction of private suffering and individual survival played out against a backdrop of public calamity we can trace the outlines of his later masterpieces such as A Journal of the Plague Year and Robinson Crusoe.

The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders

Daniel Defoe (and others)

Born in Newgate prison and abandoned six months later, Moll's drive to find and hold on to a secure place in society propels her through incest, adultery, bigamy, prostitution and a resourceful career as a thief ('the greatest Artist of my time') before she is apprehended and returned to Newgate.
If Moll Flanders is on one level a Puritan's tale of sin and repentance, through self-made, self-reliant Moll its rich subtext conveys all the paradoxes and amoralities of the struggle for property and power in Defoe's newly individualistic society.

A Journal of the Plague Year

Daniel Defoe (and others)

In 1665 the plague swept through London, claiming over 97,000 lives. Daniel Defoe was just five at the time of the plague, but he later called on his own memories, as well as his writing experience, to create this vivid chronicle of the epidemic and its victims. 'A Journal' (1722) follows Defoe's fictional narrator as he traces the devastating progress of the plague through the streets of London. Here we see a city transformed: some of its streets suspiciously empty, some - with crosses on their doors - overwhelmingly full of the sounds and smells of human suffering. And every living citizen he meets has a horrifying story that demands to be heard.

Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Defoe (and others)

With Robinson Crusoe, Defoe wrote what is regarded as the first English novel, and created one of the most popular and enduring myths in literature. Written in an age of exploration and enterprise, it has been variously interpreted as an embodiment of British imperialist values, as a portrayal of 'natural man', or as a moral fable. But above all it is a brilliant narrative, depicting Crusoe's transformation from terrified survivor to self-sufficient master of an island.

Robinson Crusoe

Robin Waterfield (and others)

After surviving a terrible shipwreck, Robinson Crusoe discovers he is the only human on an island far from any shipping routes or rescue. At first he is devastated, but slowly, with patience and imagination, he transforms his island into a tropical paradise. For twenty-four years he lives with no human companionship - until one fateful day, when he discovers he is not alone...

Puffin Classics edition has been specially abridged.

Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Defoe

Defoe's most celebrated story of Crusoe's shipwreck, his resourcefulness and ingenuity in his soliatry life on a desert island and his rescue of Man Friday has been abridged and retold many times since its publication (in two volumes) in 1719. It even appeared recently in graphic-novel form. In 1968 Kathleen Lines determined to make the original text more accessible to young readers by breaking Defoe's original, continuous narrative into chapters, slightly cutting Crusoe's long meditations, and compressing the relevant bits of THE FARTHER ADVENTURES into a neat Epilogue, so that readers learn what happened to Friday. The evocative engravings are reproduced from a mid-nineteenth-century edition published by Cassell, Petter & Gilpin.

Roxana

Daniel Defoe (and others)

Beautiful, proud Roxana is terrified of being poor. When her foolish husband leaves her penniless with five children, she must choose between being a virtuous beggar or a rich whore. Embarking on a career as a courtesan and kept woman, the glamour of her new existence soon becomes too enticing and Roxana passes from man to man in order to maintain her lavish society parties, luxurious clothes and amassed wealth. But this life comes at a cost, and she is fatally torn between the sinful prosperity she has become used to and the respectability she craves. A vivid satire on a dissolute society, Roxana (1724) is a devastating and psychologically acute evocation of the ways in which vanity and ambition can corrupt the human soul.

A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain

Daniel Defoe (and others)

Britain in the early eighteenth century: an introduction that is both informative and imaginative, reliable and entertaining. To the tradition of travel writing Daniel Defoe brings a lifetime's experience as a businessman, soldier, economic journalist and spy, and his Tour (1724-6) is an invaluable source of social and economic history. But this book is far more than a beautifully written guide to Britain just before the industrial revolution, for Defoe possessed a wild, inventive streak that endows his work with astonishing energy and tension, and the Tour is his deeply imaginative response to a brave new economic world. By employing his skills as a chronicler, a polemicist and a creative writer keenly sensitive to the depredations of time, Defoe more than achieves his aim of rendering 'the present state' of Britain.

Biography

Daniel Defoe was a Londoner, born in 1660 at St Giles, Cripplegate, and son of James Foe, a tallow-chandler. He changed his name to Defoe from c. 1695. He was educated for the Presbyterian Ministry at Morton's Academy for Dissenters at Newington Green, but in 1682 he abandoned this plan and became 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.

Between 1697 and 1701 he served as a secret agent for William III in England and Scotland, and between 1703 and 1714 for Harley and other ministers. During the latter period he also, single-handed, produced the Review, a pro-government newspaper. A prolific and versatile writer he produced some 500 books on a wide variety of topics, including politics, geography, crime, religion, economics, marriage, psychology and superstition. He delighted in role-playing and disguise, a skill he used to great effect as a secret agent, and in his writing he often adopted a pseudonym or another personality for rhetorical impact.

His first extant political tract (against James II) was published in 1688, and in 1701 appeared his satirical poem The True-Born Englishman, which was a bestseller. Two years later he was arrested for The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters, an ironical satire on High Church extremism, committed to Newgate and pilloried. He turned to fiction relatively late in life and in 1719 published his great imaginative work, Robinson Crusoe. This was followed in 1722 by Moll Flanders and A Journal of the Plague Year, and in 1724 by his last novel, Roxana.

His other works include A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain, a guide-book in three volumes (1724-6; abridged Penguin edition, 1965), The Complete English Tradesman (1726), Augusta Triumphans, (1728), A Plan of the English Commerce (1728) and The Complete English Gentleman (not published until 1890). He died on 24 April 1731. Defoe had a great influence on the development of the English novel and many consider him to be the first true novelist.