Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Defoe. This first edition credited the work's fictional protagonist Robinson Crusoe as its author, leading many readers to believe he was a real person and the book a travelogue of true incidents. Epistolary, confessional, and didactic in form, the book is a fictional autobiography of the title character—a castaway who spends years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers before being rescued. Despite its simple narrative style, Robinson Crusoe was well received in the literary world and is often credited as marking the beginning of realistic fiction as a literary genre.
Crusoe sets sail from the Queen's Dock in Hull on a sea voyage against the wishes of his parents who want him to pursue a career, possibly in law. After a tumultuous journey where his ship is wrecked in a storm, his lust for the sea remains so strong that he sets out to sea again. This journey, too, ends in disaster as the ship is taken over by Salé pirates and Crusoe is enslaved by a Moor. Two years later, he escapes in a boat with a boy named Xury; a Captain of a Portuguese ship off the west coast of Africa rescues him. The ship is en route to Brazil. With the captain's help, Crusoe procures a plantation. Years later, Crusoe joins an expedition to bring slaves from Africa but he is shipwrecked in a storm about forty miles out to sea on an island (which he calls the Island of Despair) near the mouth of the Orinoco river.