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The Stelliferous FoldToward a Virtual Law of Literature's Self-Formation$
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Rodolphe Gasché

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823234349

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823234349.001.0001

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Of Goats, Caves, and Cannibals: Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe

Of Goats, Caves, and Cannibals: Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe

Chapter:
(p.247) Chapter 10: Of Goats, Caves, and Cannibals: Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe
Source:
The Stelliferous Fold
Author(s):

Rodolphe Gasché

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823234349.003.0011

This chapter inquires into a variety of themes and images in the novel of Daniel Defoe. This novel is frequently construed as an allegory of colonization. Its interpretation is instructed by the question of why it had to be set in the Caribbean, that is, in the lands of the cannibals. The point that this chapter makes is that the religious context in which Defoe raises the question of selfhood requires that the first encounter with another be an encounter with one who threatens to eat the other, and whom in turn one must eat and assimilate, and thus dominate, in order to become a self. This chapter focuses on Crusoe's spiritual journey on the island alone. Indeed, the central role of the encounter with the cannibals, more precisely, the novel's Caribbean flavor, is meaningful only in the context of Crusoe's spiritual transformation.

Keywords:   Daniel Defoe, colonization, Caribbean, cannibals, spiritual journey

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