One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Monday, July 11, 2011

James Joyce on "Crusoe"

Apparently in some lectures delivered in Trieste, Italy (1912) Joyce had this to say about DeFoe's Robinson Crusoe and how it reflects the English mindset:
. . . the manly independence, the unconscious cruelty, the persistence, the slow but effective intelligence, the sexual apathy, the practical and well-balanced religiosity, the calculating silence [of Robinson Crusoe].

And further:
The true symbol of the British conquest is Robinson Crusoe, cast away on a desert island, in his pocket a knife and a pipe, becomes an architect, a knife-grinder, an astronomer, a baker, a shipwright, a potter, a saddler, a farmer, a tailor, an umbrella-maker, and a clergyman. He is the true prototype of the British colonist, as Friday (the trusty savage who arrives on an unlucky day) is the symbol of the subject races. The whole Anglo-Saxon spirit is in Crusoe.
*

NB: These quotes are translations from Italian originals. Ergo alternate translations exist. See the following link for further (if scant) discussion on this topic.

http://www.ricorso.net/rx/az-data/authors/j/Joyce_JA/quots/quots2.htm#DDefoe
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