I was now landed, signed as "Wal Paget" (See p. 33.) enables the reader to jump right to the passage realised. Vignetted: approximately 6.8 cm high by 12.3 cm wide. The situation is repeated a number of times during the first novel, and serves as the novel's uncaptioned Headpiece: thanking Providence for his deliverance, Robinson Crusoe is castaway on on a foreign shore. Here, however, Paget makes explicit that Crusoe is surveying the wreck of the slave-ship that has brought him to an island in the mouth of the Orinocco River.
Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]
Passage Anticipated: Crusoe a Castaway
I was now landed and safe on shore, and began to look up and thank God that my life was saved, in a case wherein there was some minutes before scarce any room to hope. I believe it is impossible to express, to the life, what the ecstasies and transports of the soul are, when it is so saved, as I may say, out of the very grave: and I do not wonder now at the custom, when a malefactor, who has the halter about his neck, is tied up, and just going to be turned off, and has a reprieve brought to him — I say, I do not wonder that they bring a surgeon with it, to let him blood that very moment they tell him of it, that the surprise may not drive the animal spirits from the heart and overwhelm him.
“For sudden joys, like griefs, confound at first.”
I walked about on the shore lifting up my hands, and my whole being, as I may say, wrapped up in a contemplation of my deliverance; making a thousand gestures and motions, which I cannot describe; reflecting upon all my comrades that were drowned, and that there should not be one soul saved but myself; for, as for them, I never saw them afterwards, or any sign of them, except three of their hats, one cap, and two shoes that were not fellows. [Chapter III, "Wrecked on a Desert Island," p. 33]
Paget distinguishes this larger vignette from the smaller headpiece in a number of ways. The opening thumbnail depicts Crusoe on a sandy shore; here, Paget changes that to a rocky litoral, and shows the ship on the horizon, battered by high waves, the whole scene conveyed with photographic realism.
Related Scenes from Stothart (1790), the 1818 Children's Book, Cruikshank (1831), Wehnert (1862), and Cassell's (1863-64)
Right: Stothard's elegant realisation of Crusoe clinging to the rock, Centre: Wehnert's more dynamic realisation of the same episode, Crusoe saved on the island (1862: wood-engraving, Chapter III, "Wrecked on a Desert Island"). Right: Colourful children's book realisation of the same scene, but utterly lacking in realistic perspective: Robinson Crusoe cast away on the rock (1818). [Click on the images to enlarge them.]
Above: George Cruikshank's vignette of the castaway nearly overwhelmed by the breakers, Crusoe clinging to a rock on the beach. [Click on image to enlarge it.]
Defoe, Daniel. The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe Of York, Mariner. As Related by Himself. With upwards of One Hundred Illustrations. London: Cassell, Petter, and Galpin, 1863-64.
Defoe, Daniel. The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe Of York, Mariner. As Related by Himself. With upwards of One Hundred and Twenty Original Illustrations by Walter Paget. London, Paris, and Melbourne: Cassell, 1891.
Last modified 25 April 2018