Crusoe by Katherine Frank
Daniel Defoe, Robert Knox, and the Creation of a Myth

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I can’t imagine many people being interested in a book about the man who was Captain Singleton and the man who wrote “Captain Singleton.”
-NY Times

Synopsis

A remarkable literary hybrid—part biography, part detective story—about the enduring figure of Robinson Crusoe 
Where did Crusoe come from? Frank explores the intertwined lives of two real men, Daniel Defoe and Robert Knox, and the character and book that emerged from their peculiar conjunction. January 1719. A man sits at a table, writing. Nearly sixty, Daniel Defoe is troubled with gout and mired in political controversy and legal threats. But for the moment he is preoccupied by a younger man on a barren shore—Robinson Crusoe. Several miles south, another old man, Robert Knox, sits bent over a heavy volume—published nearly forty years before. Knox’s Historical Relation was a bestseller when it was published in 1681, just a year after he escaped from Ceylon and returned to England. Where did Crusoe come from? And what is the secret of his endurance? Crusoe explores the intertwined lives of two real men, Daniel Defoe and Robert Knox, and the character and book that emerged from their peculiar conjunction. It is the biography of a book and its hero: the story of Defoe, the man who wrote Robinson Crusoe, and of Robert Knox, the man who was Crusoe.
 

About Katherine Frank

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Katherine Frank's most recent biography, "A Passage to Egypt: The Life of Lucie Duff Gordon", earned a rave front-page review in the "New York Times Book Review". Frank is also the author of "A Voyager Out", a life of Mary Kingsley, & "A Chainless Soul", a life of Emily Bronte, which was hailed by New York Daily News. Her work on "Indira" involved six years of extensive travel & research.
 
Published April 3, 2012 by Pegasus Books. 368 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, History, Action & Adventure, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Crusoe
All: 2 | Positive: 0 | Negative: 2

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Randy Boyagoda on Aug 31 2012

I can’t imagine many people being interested in a book about the man who was Captain Singleton and the man who wrote “Captain Singleton.”

Read Full Review of Crusoe: Daniel Defoe, Robert ... | See more reviews from NY Times

WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by Claude Rawson on Apr 19 2012

The narrative does calm down after the opening but then gives way to heady myth-chatter. In between, it tells a real story about Robert Knox, in which Daniel Defoe deserved to be mentioned in passing.

Read Full Review of Crusoe: Daniel Defoe, Robert ... | See more reviews from WSJ online

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