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Rise of the Novel 2018
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The Google maps version of Crusoe’s journey maps on the locations from the book, whether traveled there by Crusoe or just mentioned in passing. This map highlights the number of locations mentioned—it is clear that place and space factor monumentally into the book. I appreciate the way the map shows that places are important and should be imagined in relation to one another, highlighting the importance of travel and movement as well. I found it interesting that, although the novel is part of a colonial project, most of the places are in Europe, which allows us to understand the perspective of the novel as distinctly that of the colonizer.

Assignment 2:

For the locations absent, we can see that most, if not all of them, are the given names of locations when one of the government powers controlled them during the time of Crusoe. For example, the long stretch of land in North Africa previously known as Barbary is now replaced by Mauritania, Niger, Algeria, Chad, etc. Also, you have places such as Dunkirk and St. Augustine, two locations that hold significance for the government powers Spain and England who were the leading powers for discovery and trade at that time. The absence of various locations on the current map provided by MyMaps demonstrates the shift from colonialism, under the powers of England and Spain, to the fight for independence in various areas of the world which would continue for centuries after Dafoe writes Robinson Crusoe. Even if some of the locations listed are fictional, they still have the characteristics of colonialism and imperialism which can be seen as Crusoe increasingly views his fictional island as an empire in which he is the ruler and those who choose to live there must recognize him as ruler. In addition, the various locations speak to the war between Spain and England for extending their respective empires through trade and conquest. This relationship between Spain and England helps give context to Crusoe’s biased remarks about Spain’s treatment of natives in their inhabited lands, despite England doing similar. These remarks, as well as the competition between Spain and England, allow the reader to see the growth Crusoe has gained on the island, away from the bias of those in England, seen as he makes sure that the English mutineers who are left on the island treat the Spanish sailors with respect when they return.

Upon creating the map from the deduplicated locations list, the most striking initial difference was one of form: the Google Maps version displays a series of points indicating locations superimposed over a map of the world (locations that Robinson Crusoe either visited or discussed), whereas the version printed in the novel displays the path taken by the protagonist. This means that the Google Maps lacks the attention to the seafaring journey that is essential to the novel. In paring down our imagining of the places referenced in the novel to a series of locations, the manner in which the original map places the act of traversing the globe at the center of the novel becomes increasingly clear. This highlights the nature of Robinson Crusoe as a travel narrative and a proto-colonial novel, one where places are only important insofar as they are connected to a wider vision of the globe as a connected entity, and furthermore, as an entity that may be traversed literally or non-literally by a middle-class individual. Additionally, the other primary difference between the two maps — that one is a mapping of places referenced and the other is a mapping of places the protagonist physically visited — reveals that although Crusoe's voyage to colonized or (through the gaze of empire) yet-to-be-colonized lands is central to how Robinson Crusoe imagines itself as a novel, the majority of references to location in the text are references to European locations. Non-European settings in this novel go largely unnamed despite being the subject of the narrative. This suggests that the methods with which Robinson Crusoe characterizes the non-European settings operate less explicitly/more covertly than they might otherwise.

This map is somewhat hard to interpret, given the number of locations plotted. To remedy this I tried looking at the prevalence with which words appear in the text. Only seven words appear more than ten times: England(42), Providence(35), Lisbon(19), London(12), Brazil(11), Africa(11), and America(10). The extreme usage of England is no surprise, as Defoe is constantly trying to frame Crusoe's adventures in direct comparison to life in England, using phrases like "such as in England", "if we had been in England", and "as I had seen done in England". It is also interesting that the second most used place is Providence, which is used in the text in a far less literal sense than all other words. Crusoe uses the term in a Christian sense, reinforcing the novel's religious narrative. Looking at the map, there is a sharp contrast between the "new" and "old" worlds. Crusoe often refers to specific cities in Europe, covering the map in pins. On the other hand, non-european locations are painted with must wider strokes, with Crusoe referring to "Africa" and "America" as two of his most used places. I wonder whether this is an active choice by Defoe to only refer to locations that he thinks his reader will know or if he himself is only knowledgeable of these large distinctions.

The juxtaposition between the NER generated list of geographical mentions and the NER generated list of monetary mentions within Robinson Crusoe cement Defoe’s novel as a distinctly colonial yet pre-capitalist text. Robinson Crusoe is a novel concerned with wealth and social mobility as much, if not more, than it is a text about survival. The novel opens with Crusoe meditating on his socio-economic positioning. Before departing on his journey Crusoe is informed that, “It was for men of desperate fortunes on one hand, or of aspiring, superior fortunes on the other, who went abroad” (6). While this warning appears to set up a cautionary tale for those who fail to appreciate “the middle of the two extremes, between the mean and the great” (6) the novel ultimately concludes with Crusoe returning from his Odyssey to a sizable fortune. Quantitative data bears out this categorization of Robinson Crusoe as a novel concerned primarily with fortune. If we map the locations mentioned throughout the novel we see that––apart from biblical references to Israel and Egypt and a early descriptions of Crusoe’s background––almost all mentioned locations fall along either epicenters of the triangle trade or Portuguese outposts along the Swahili coast. However, despite the fact that the novel’s geographic locations are tied directly to the exchange wealth, the NER recognizes only one reference to actual money, early in the novel, wherein Crusoe recounts “I did not carry quite £100 of my new gained wealth” (16) on an early voyage. There is a moment towards the novel’s close where a donation of “872 Moidores”, a Portuguese gold coin, that goes unrecognized by the NER but it is emblematic of what the broader NER data shows us: that material wealth in the time of Robinson Crusoe was still in the process of being abstracted to currency.

Assignment 2

The misspellings were the first thing I noticed about the data that didn’t map correctly, and that reveals a little bit about English in the 18th century (that it was different). I think it is hilarious how Google Maps can give us a marker for Africa, a full on continent, but, it can’t give us a marker for England, which is spelled perfectly correctly as well. Not really sure why that is, yet when I type England directly into the search bar, I do get a corresponding marker. The map also shows how the Western side of the world was the focus of not only Robinson Crusoe’s voyages, but also any of his anecdotes. There are very few markers in Asia, the only one is actually the East Indies. Despite the marketing of himself as a worldly man, and even I think that of his voyages around the world, Crusoe hasn’t really been to half of it.