Rare early set of the realist novel that transformed English literature, comprised of the second edition of the work and the first edition of its sequel.
"Defoe [...] expressed the diverse elements of individualism more completely than any previous writer, and his work offers a unique demonstration of the connection between individualism in its many forms and the rise of the novel." – Ian Watt
Based in part on the celebrated narrative of castaway Alexander Selkirk, Defoe's novel is an adventure set in the New World that describes Crusoe developing self-reliant virtues in order to survive. Crusoe has become a modern mythic figure in the West: he is a hero of economic individualism on a modern Odyssey, born during the rise of English capitalism. Both entertaining and morally uplifting, the book represented an ideal formula in the early years of realist fiction; ROBINSON CRUSOE soon became an international bestseller, with more translations than any work except the Bible, and established a path for future novelists in the growing market for realist literature that matured in 18th-century England. It is often described as one of the earliest novels in English.<br />First published in April of 1719, CRUSOE proved so popular that Defoe quickly published a sequel, THE FARTHER ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE, in August of 1719 (here in the first edition, with the May 1719 second edition of the first part). In 1720, he added a series of essays, SERIOUS REFLECTIONS DURING THE LIFE AND SURPRISING ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE, which is not typically printed with the main narrative of parts I and II today. This set has two copies of the famous frontispiece portrait of Robinson Crusoe, so iconic that, no matter the edition, "we always look for it and are disappointed when we do not find it" (A Edward Newton). <br />Rare in any early edition, magnificently bound in the style of the period.
Read more: Hutchins, Robinson Crusoe and its printing 1719-1731; Watt, The Rise of the Novel.
London: Printed for W. Taylor at the Ship in Pater-Noster-Row, 1719. Full title: The life and strange surprizing adventures of Robinson Crusoe, or York, Mariner: Who lived eight and twenty Year all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, where-in all the Men perished but himself. With an ACCOUNT of how he was at last as strangely deliver'd by Pyrates. WITH: The farther adventures of Robinson Crusoe; Being the Second and Last Part of his life, And of the Strange Surprizing Accounts of his Travels Round three Parts of the Globe. Two octavo volumes, 7.25'' x 4.25''. Full speckled period-style calf, raised bands, elaborately gilt-stamped spine, red and black goatskin spine labels. Red speckled edges. Volume I with engraved frontispiece by Clark & Pine (mounted on stub) and 2 pages of publisher's catalogue (of 4): , 364,  pages; volume II with additional frontispiece (same as volume I, not called for, trimmed and mounted in gutter), long ad on verso of A4, 1 page of publisher's catalogue (of 11), and engraved folding map bound at rear (mounted on stub): , 373,  pages. Envelope with 1908 purchase details of previous owner and complimentary documentation laid in.
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