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VOLUME 5 ISSUE 2 (2020) | Robinson Crusoe's nalatenschap / Legacies of Robinson Crusoe

Elisabeth Bekers, Andrea Penso and Hannah Van Hove, "The Legacy of Robinson Crusoe : The First Novel in English as Catalyst for 300 Years of Literary Transformation"

Keywords: Robinson Crusoe, first novel, desert island myth, Robinsonade, postcolonial literature, novel genre


Andrea Penso, "Robinson Crusoe and the Others: On the Early Conceptualization of the English Novel in Italy"

The publication of Robinson Crusoe in 1719 represents a milestone in the history of western literature, marking the beginning of a new literary genre, the realistic fiction. From then, the new genre had a huge impact on the audiences and the cultural milieus of the time, in and outside Britain. To play a pivotal role in the international dissemination of information about this new “literary object” was the periodical press: the many journals of the time were in fact instrumental in the propagation of ideas, moral values, new stylistic and narrative features connected to the English novels through announcements and reviews. In the European context, the Italian literary press was quite exceptional, as it was not immediately receptive towards the new narrative form coming from England: the first reviews of English novels started appearing consistently only in the second half of the 18th century. This article aims at investigating how the English novels were reviewed, censored, introduced to the Italian public by the periodical press of the late 18th century. The study will focus in particular on the Venetian journals directed by Elisabetta Caminer Turra (Giornale Enciclopedico, Nuovo Giornale Enciclopedico, Nuovo Giornale Enciclopedico d’Italia), and will show how the controversial nature of English novels started a debate on their moral values, which in Italy was carried on under very specific circumstances.

Keywords: English novel, Italian Press, 18th century, Elisanetta Caminer-Turra, Foreign Culture Reception


Emilie Sitzia, "Lost in Intersemiotic Translation? J. J. Grandville’s Illustration of Robinson Crusoe

This paper proposes to explore the illustrations of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe in 19th century France. It looks specifically at J.J. Grandville’s 1840 illustrations of the text. This contribution aims to investigate what images say about the reception of a specific text in a specific historical, political and social environment and what is lost (and gained) in visual translation. This article first discusses the role of illustration as a visual reception of a literary text. With each new illustration, stories are retold, re-appropriated by various cultures and updated to fit their time. But how do illustrations reflect the cultural, social and political fabric of their period? J. J. Grandville’s illustrations of Robinson Crusoe are particularly interesting in this regard. While Grandville is known as a master of imagination and fantastic representation, he was a versatile artist. His adaptation of Robinson Crusoe shows him shifting Robinson’s religious content towards moral lessons and anchoring it culturally as an educational ethnographic novel and a British naval tale full of adventure and fantasy. Furthermore the sheer number of images and deviation in illustration offer a potential romantic reading of the narrative, some anticolonial dissonance and a questioning of the heroic figure. Grandville’s illustrations create a parallel visual storytelling that challenges the textual narrative.

Keywords: Robinson Crusoe, Grandville, illustration, adaptation, intersemiotic translation


Mathias Meert, "Literature, Authorship and Childhood in Friedrich Forster’s and Josef von Báky’s Robinson soll nicht sterben"

Friedrich Forster’s Robinson soll nicht sterben, published both as a play (1931) and a novella (1949), offers a fictionalized account of the final days of Daniel Defoe. In 1957, Forster’s Robinson was furthermore adapted for the screen by Josef von Báky. In this contribution, I will explore the intermedial adaptation and appropriation of Defoe’s biography in the works of Forster and von Báky. In particular, I will focus on three crucial aspects: (1) the narrativization of Defoe as a literary character, (2) the economic and ideological notion of (literary) authorship, (3) the role and context of children’s literature for the staging and adaptation of Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. In so doing, this contribution will explore the works of Forster and von Báky through the genre-lens of fictional biography, fairy tale, detective story and their related processes of canonicity.

Keywords: Friedrich Forster, Josef von Báky, Intermediality, Adaptation, Authorship


Daniel Acke, "Vendredi ou les limbes du Pacifique van Michel Tournier: Natuurlijke Mystiek en “Onpersoonlijkheid”"

In this contribution Michel Tourniers famous robinsonade Vendredi ou les limbes du pacifique (1967) is examined from the point of view of the limit-experience of natural mysticism, this is mysticism without religious belief, a phenomenon well represented in twentieth century and contemporary thought and philosophy. The author wants to show that the mysticism which is expressed in the novel by Robinsons behavior is characterized by impersonality, whereas experience in the Western tradition is mostly conceived through the subject-object relation. Moreover he analyses the first philosophical essay Tournier ever published (1946), which lays the theoretical foundations for his mysticism of impersonality.

Keywords: robinsonade, Michel Tournier, French literature of the twentieth century, non-religious or natural mysticism, Consciousness as a philosophical issue


Helena Van Praet, "Genre Developments in the 21st Century: Representation and the Network in Anne Carson’s Float"

This essay reflects on Carson’s contribution to genre developments in the 21st century through the case of Float (2016). To this end, it draws on Hayles’s theory of materialised text and Elleström’s related notion of the technical medium. Building on Wurth’s identification of a network aesthetic, it argues that the conception of genre in Float hovers between print and digital textualities by showing how the collection reworks avant-garde techniques through an authorial yet decentred network aesthetic. Positioning Carson’s engagement with genre in between ‘past’ and ‘present’ movements, this essay catalyses new insights regarding the often-overlooked material dimension of generic scholarship.

Keywords: Anne Carson, Float, Genre, Materiality, Network Aesthetic


Zhuyun Song, "Anti-Orientalism in Guo Xiaolu’s Village of Stone"

Whereas Daniel Defoe in 1719 followed Robinson Crusoe’s travels from an emergent empire to a distant and uninhabited island, Chinese-British writer Guo Xiaolu reverses and updates the Englishman’s journey in Village of Stone (2004). Inspired by her own experiences, Guo employs her heroine’s relocation from a remote, typhoon-battered island to the megalopolis of Beijing to present an incisive portrait of contemporary Chinese city youth and the development gap resulting from their move from isolated communities to the fast-growing metropolis of China. Drawing on established and recent theorising on Orientalism, this article demonstrates how Guo, with her “auto-image” (Leerssen 2007) of China’s imbalanced development, successfully draws the attention of both Chinese and Western readers to how contemporary Chinese view their own nation’s developmental issues and thus counters the Orientalism of Western portraits of China.

Keywords: Orientalism, Imagology, China, Chinese-British literature, life writing


Anthony Manu, "Narrative Coherence and Postcolonialism in Tomorrowland (2009) and Tender Girl (2015) by Lisa Samuels"

Lisa Samuels’s experimental works Tomorrowland (2009) and Tender Girl (2015) explore multicultural dynamics through their story. While both works do so through their stories, by presenting characters experiencing transculturality within their story world, these stories seem only vaguely coherent. This article argues that the absence of a clear novelistic story structure in favour of the presence of a less obvious, hybrid poetic-narrative structure furthers the goal of exploring multiculturality. Coining and describing two lingual mechanisms that allow for such a hybrid structure, it explores the textual strategies at work in Samuels’s texts, illustrating how they structure texts combining principles of narrative coherence with principles of poetic structuring.

Keywords: Lisa Samuels, coloniality, story structure, narrative world, referential function, poetic function, multiculturality


WRITER'S INTERVIEW - Lisa Samuels and Hannah Van Hove, "Transplace Poetics: A Conversation and Reading with Lisa Samuels"

In this conversation, poet Lisa Samuels and postdoctoral researcher Hannah Van Hove discuss Samuels's idea of a 'transplace poetics'. Coextensive with the intensity of modern migrations, transplace poetics imagines art practices that are situated in transplace: a transnationalism and trans-regionalism that is its own real condition. The emphasisis not on an ephemeral in-between but on a constitutive one: constellated intersections that are emplacement. The recording of Lisa Samuels's performance during their conversation is also made available and can be accessed in the article and here.


WRITER'S ESSAY - Fouad Laroui, "Ibn Turfayl et Robinson Crusoe"

Since the publication of Daniel Defoe's novel in 1719, the ‘robinsonade’ has been an established literary genre. However, the influence of Hayy ibn Yaqzan by Ibn Tufayl on Defoe is generally unknown. In this essay, the writer Fouad Laroui provides an overview of Hayy’s work and shows how and why he had a considerable influence, not only on Defoe, but also on thinkers like Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Hume and Boyle. Finally, Laroui illustrates how a consideration of Hayy can help explain why Defoe wrote a 'mystical sequel' to his book, entitled Serious Reflections of Robinson Crusoe.

La ‘robinsonnade’ est un genre littéraire depuis la parution du roman de Daniel Defoe en 1719. Cependant l’influence de Hayy ibn Yaqzan, d’Ibn Tufayl, sur Defoe est généralement méconnue. Nous donnons ici une étude aperçu de Hayy et nous montrons comment et pourquoi il a eu une influence considérable, non seulement sur Defoe, mais aussi sur Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Hume, Boyle, etc. Enfin, la prise en compte de Hayy explique pourquoi Defoe a écrit une ‘suite mystique’ de son livre, intitulée Serious reflections of Robinson Crusoe.