Symposium: Comparative Perspectives on the Robinsonade, 1719-2019

12 July 2019, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Helmholtz-Institut, Staudingerweg 18, Conference room 00-131

Organisers: Winfried Eckel (Mainz), Jakub Lipski (Bydgoszcz), Anja Müller-Wood (Mainz)

The 2019 tercentenary of the publication of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe provides the perfect opportunity to reconsider the global status of the Robinsonade as a genre. The translations and transformations of Defoe’s founding text, which served as a model for many authors in various countries, led to an international spread of the genre as early as the 18th century, with the term ‘Robinsonade’ itself first used in the German literary tradition and the most enduring narrative structure established not so much by Defoe himself but by J. J. Rousseau and his commentary on Robinson Crusoe in Emile; or, On Education.

The symposium addressed the circulation of the Robinsonade across cultures and national contexts, the adaptability of the form and its potential to speak to various audiences at different historical moments. A particular interest was given to contemporary variations on the theme.