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Debunking the Myth of the ‘Real’ Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Defoe published his book Robinson Crusoe in 1719, at a time when stories of shipwrecks, pirates, and castaways were hot, and there were plenty of narratives available. His book survived better than other accounts because it was particularly well-written and gripped the public’s imagination. And it was fiction, so therefore not constrained by actual events. After Defoe’s death, scholars pointed to the true story of pirate Alexander Selkirk as the main inspiration for Robinson Crusoe.
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