Crusoes and Other Castaways in Modern French Literature: Solitary Adventures

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9781611495065: Crusoes and Other Castaways in Modern French Literature: Solitary Adventures
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Crusoes and Other Castaways in Modern French Literature: Solitary Adventures by Joseph Acquisto examines the representation of Robinson Crusoe and other castaways in both popular and serious French literature for both children and adults from the early nineteenth to the twenty-first century. It examines not only novels but lyric poetry, providing not just a literary history but interpretation of a wide range of canonical and non-canonical authors.

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Acquisto argues convincingly that in successive French rewritings from the nineteenth century to the present day the practical and essentially pragmatic concerns of Defoe's hero are gradually infused with an exploration of the mental terrain of the protagonist. The castaway story is interiorized as the space of the remote island is metamorphosed into the space of the mind: experience becomes imaginative, activity becomes contemplation, and the voyage is transformed into the exploratory adventure of reading.--French Studies

In the introduction to his innovative, intertextual study of the French castaway narrative, Acquisto (French literature, Univ. of Vermont) discusses the Crusoe story and its cousins from a French perspective, which deemphasizes a Protestant, imperial reading and the proto-colonial aspects of Crusoe's relationship with Friday. As Acquisto argues, the French tradition succeeds in turning the solitary adventure of the castaway into a heightened, attentive introspection, thereby transforming popular novels into serious works of art, and--most interestingly--narratives aimed at women and children into narratives intended for men. Beginning with Rousseau, the author traces the solitary adventure throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in both poetry and prose. Jules Verne, Paul Valéry, André Gide, and Michel Tournier all receive extended, worthwhile attention. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.--CHOICE

About the Author:

Joseph Acquisto, PhD is an associate professor at the University of Vermont, specializing in nineteenth and twentieth century French literature.

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9781611494068: Crusoes and Other Castaways in Modern French Literature: Solitary Adventures

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ISBN 10:  1611494060 ISBN 13:  9781611494068
Publisher: University of Delaware Press, 2012
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