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Rise of the Novel 2018
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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.