Download PDF by J. R. Hammond (auth.): A Defoe Companion

By J. R. Hammond (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0230374700

ISBN-13: 9780230374706

ISBN-10: 0389210064

ISBN-13: 9780389210061

ISBN-10: 1349389242

ISBN-13: 9781349389247

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Example text

Each of these scenes is depicted with total conviction, as if the events described have actually occurred. It is this pictorial quality that Stevenson had in mind when he wrote: The author must know his countryside, whether real or imaginary, like his hand; the distances, the points of the compass, the place of the sun's rising, the behaviour of the moon, should all be beyond cavil. 1B Because Stevenson could see the landscape before him when writing Treasure Island the reader has a crystal-clear picture of the terrain: it is described with the realism and attention to detail of an actual location.

But it is also a matter of choice. As his career progressed he became more and more fascinated by the possibilities inherent in the novel form and in particular by the fluidity of the first-person narrator. He came to see that the novel could depict not only outward actions but innermost thoughts. He well knew that human behaviour is often a mass of contradictions, that people often behave in an irrational manner, and that warring 34 A Defoe Companion motives can complete for attention within the same individual.

His heroes and heroines survive against all odds because they use all their qualities of Defoe's Literary Achievement 33 ingenuity, patience and cunning in their determination to win for themselves a place in the sun. The self-reliance which is the hallmark of their behaviour is characteristic of the rise of capitalism: indeed, it is arguable that the rise of the novel and the emergence of the mercantile age are inseparably linked. The qualities which typify Defoe's narrators - self-reliance, acumen, adaptability- are the very qualities in such demand during the birth of the modern age and which he embodied so forcefully in his own person.

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A Defoe Companion by J. R. Hammond (auth.)


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