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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.

Assignment 2

2 min read

Comparing the two maps of Crusoe’s voyage—one with a map contemporary to the novel’s publication, one with more accurate and updated geography—revealed that the early map did not accurately show Crusoe’s voyage in the Caribbean, which is strange. He went among many islands, yet the dotted lines show he only went to the northern coast of South America. Could the mapper have confused the West Indies with the East Indies? But of more interest to me is the density of pinpoints in Europe. This is a detail we can’t see on the map of the voyage that My Maps allows us to analyze. Crusoe’s extensive lists of his stops in Europe tell us that Defoe was careful to list these cities accurately (they’re mistaken much, much less by MyMaps than are locations in the Caribbean and Africa). With Gallagher’s argument on the rise of fictionality in mind, we can postulate that this is part of an effort to convince readers of the truthfulness and accuracy of Crusoe/Defoe’s account, as he does in the preface. Readers are likely to know European geography well, but not other places abroad, so he makes sure not to invent European places.

 

Assignment 2
Providence doesn’t make the cut, google maps doesn’t recognize it as a real place, although last time I thought about it, there is a Providence, Rhode Island. I think this is interesting because there is some debate to be made about whether Providence is a real place or not. Whether is it purely a spiritual concept to Crusoe, or if over the course of his stay on the island (A real place which would show up on either map if it had had a name), becomes a real place as he transforms into a “society.” The lack of the island on google maps, if we are going with my theory that it could be considered Providence for Crusoe (he does talk about how he has been delivered to this island by God for his betterment), raises some interesting analysis about what constitutes “a place” as noteworthy as to make it onto a map in the times of colonial exploration. If the story of Robinson Crusoe was a true story would this island be on the primary source map provided to us, simply because of what he created on it?
An island called Providence.
I would argue, that in the eyes of colonialists it does. That what Crusoe did on the island makes it noteworthy for a map, and beforehand, it might not have been viewed as a place but as something more symbolic, an inner desire, deliverance.

Old Map, New Map (Assignment 2)

1 min read

The map from The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe is striking in the division it suggests between the Old World and the New World. It shows us two views of the same sphere, but the two-dimensional depiction leaves us with the impression that these halves of the world are all but separate, joined only at the equator. I wonder what we might glean from the map's presentation about eighteenth-century readers' conceptions of Crusoe's voyages--particularly relative to our own. Would they have considered Crusoe's trip from West Africa to Brazil especially meaningful? How would that square with Defoe's cursory treatment of the trip in the text (29)? What might a specifically twenty-first-century map (e.g., a Google map with locations marked) suggest about contemporary understandings of Robinson Crusoe's geography? Perhaps, I could argue, it betrays a certain expectation of geographical exactitude in adventure narratives. And perhaps it shows that the present-day reader's perception of locations has been flattened, with cities to be marked with the same blue tags as continents.

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.

Assignment 2

2 min read

Even a cursory glance at the map included in "The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe" is enough to guess both the time period and the perspective the book is written from. It's a map made by a colonizer, someone who sees Africa as an opportunity and its people as a bountiful resource ready to be plundered. The fact that one of the countries is called "Negroland" really drives home how little they cared for the cultural identity of these people, how they reduced them to commodities and nothing more. There's a chilling moment in "Robinson Crusoe" where the titular character, after being saved by the Portugese captain, is approached with a proposition by some planters and merchants. Having heard his story about encountering the people of Guinea, they want to sail there and enslave the inhabitants. They ask Crusoe to come along and manage the trading. Bear in mind that these are people who offered Crusoe and Xury aid, who showed nothing but kindness. But this doesn't deter Crusoe. He has no qualms with enslaving the people who helped him, his only concern being that it's a big risk to just take a voyage when he's already got a good thing going. This essentially sums up Crusoe's attitude throughout the novel: indifferent. Apathetic. It's not that he hates these people, he just doesn't care about them. He doesn't see them as human beings worth empathizing with or considering. It's attitudes like these that enabled atrocities like imperialism, and hangs over the novel and this map like an ugly cloud.

Mapping Robinson Crusoe

2 min read

When mapping our data from the Stanford NER to Google Maps, I was most interested to see the predominance and specificity of locations in Europe, especially with respect to the rest of the world. These results were apparent even in my initial analysis of the locations list in NER, but are even more evident when viewing the pinpoints on a physical map, which speaks to the manner in which Google maps data.

The map included from the Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe contains visible details of globalization, travel, and voyage in highly visual aspects, from the font and the inclusion of latitude/longitude lines, to the names of small bodies of water and the sketching of various terrains. This image, in my opinion, seems like the journey that Robinson Crusoe would want to preserve as representative of his narrative.

The map that is reflected on Google Maps, however, feels like a more realistic representation of Crusoe's journey. Throughout the text, he refers to foreign territory as essentially "uninhabited islands," which we are able to see, even on the title page of the book. He does not give names to these places, as it would be almost antithetical to the theme of the text: of a man on a solitary journey to the vast unknown. Many of the pinpoints are actually centered on the final leg of his journey, when he is traveling back home through Europe. I found these contrasts to be interesting, but moreover, important in understanding Crusoe's sentiments towards places that are both familiar and unfamiliar to him.

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.

Crusoe and GoogleMyMaps

2 min read

I’d expected that some of the locations Crusoe references in the novel wouldn’t show up on the Google map I created for this activity, but I was still surprised at the sheer amount of entries which couldn’t be shown on the map—almost a quarter of the whole locations list was excluded, and while I can see how entries like “New,” “Bible,” and “providence” can’t be traced to physical locations, I can’t tell what kept Dunkirk and England from being added onto the map. The name and spelling variations which prevented certain locations from appearing on the map were also interesting (I especially liked the paired “Havannah” and “Havanna”), and entries like “New Spain” and “St. Salvador” provided a clear contrast between the increasingly colonial world and not-yet-standardized English of Robinson Crusoe and the present day. While this exercise couldn’t produce a comprehensive map of every location referenced in the novel, the map and list of “unmappable” items which exist are a weird and interesting window into the novel in their own right.

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.