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/ Castaway Colonialism: Daniel Defoe's <i>Robinson Crusoe</i> and Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca's <i>Account</i>

Adam Lifshey

in Specters of Conquest

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780823232383
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241187 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823232383.003.0004

Series: American Literatures Initiative

/ Castaway Colonialism: Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca's Account

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Daniel Defoe published Robinson Crusoe in 1719, not long after Francisco Ximénez saw, copied, and translated the Popol Vuh in Guatemala. There is no direct connection between the two narratives, yet both manifest absence as a contestatory transatlantic phenomenon. With respect to Columbus's diary of his first voyage, Defoe's novel is further removed in time from it than from the Ximénez manuscript but closer in orientation due to its accounting of another European sailor who encounters unfamiliar land in the Caribbean. On the island in Robinson Crusoe there are no indigenes available immediately to conquer and it is the European who begins in a position of relative weakness, so it takes Crusoe longer than Columbus to incorporate subjects into empire.

Keywords: Daniel Defoe; Robinson Crusoe; Francisco Ximénez; Popol Vuh; absence; transatlantic; colonialism; Caribbean; Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca

Chapter.  12668 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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