Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Deathday: Author Theodore Dreiser 1945

Theodore Herman Albert Dreiser (August 27, 1871 – December 28, 1945) was an American novelist and journalist. He pioneered the naturalist school and is known for portraying characters whose value lies not in their moral code, but in their persistence against all obstacles, and literary situations that more closely resemble studies of nature than tales of choice and agency.[1]

Early life

Dreiser was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, to Sarah and John Paul Dreiser, a strict Catholic family. John Paul Dreiser was a German immigrant from Mayen in the Eifel region, and Sarah was from the Mennonite farming community near Dayton, Ohio; she was disowned for marrying John and converting to Roman Catholicism. Theodore was the twelfth of thirteen children (the ninth of the ten surviving). The popular songwriter Paul Dresser (1859–1906) was his older brother.

From 1889 to 1890, Theodore attended Indiana University before dropping out.[citation needed]. Within several years, he was writing for the Chicago Globe newspaper and then the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. He wrote several articles on writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Dean Howells, Israel Zangwill, John Burroughs, and interviewed public figures such as Andrew Carnegie, Marshall Field, Thomas Edison, and Theodore Thomas[2]. Other interviewees included Lillian Nordica, Emilia E. Barr, Philip Armour and Alfred Stieglitz[3]. After proposing in 1893, he married Sara White on December 28, 1898. They ultimately separated in 1909, partly as a result of Dreiser's infatuation with Thelma Cudlipp, the teenage daughter of a work colleague, but were never formally divorced.[4]

In 1919 Dreiser met his cousin Helen Richardson with whom he began an affair[5] with sado-masochistic elements.[6] They eventually married on 13 June 1944.[5]

Literary career

His first novel, Sister Carrie (1900), tells the story of a woman who flees her country life for the city (Chicago) and falls into a wayward life. It sold poorly, but it later acquired a considerable reputation. (It was made into a 1952 film by William Wyler, which starred Laurence Olivier and Jennifer Jones.)

He was a witness to a lynching in 1893 and wrote the short story, "Cracker," which appeared in Ainslee's Magazine in 1901.[7]

His second novel, Jennie Gerhardt, was published in 1911. Many of Dreiser's subsequent novels dealt with social inequality. His first commercial success was An American Tragedy (1925), which was made into a film in 1931 and again in 1951 (as A Place in the Sun). Already in 1892, when Dreiser began work as a newspaperman he had begun "to observe a certain type of crime in the United States that proved very common. It seemed to spring from the fact that almost every young person was possessed of an ingrown ambition to be somebody financially and socially." "Fortune hunting became a disease" with the frequent result of a peculiarly American kind of crime, a form of "murder for money," when "the young ambitious lover of some poorer girl" found "a more attractive girl with money or position" but could not get rid of the first girl, usually because of pregnancy.[8] Dreiser claimed to have collected such stories every year between 1895 and 1935. The murder in 1911 of Avis Linnell by Clarence Richeson particularly caught his attention. By 1919 this murder was the basis of one of two separate novels begun by Dreiser. The 1906 murder of Grace Brown by Chester Gillette eventually became the basis for An American Tragedy.[9]

Though primarily known as a novelist, Dreiser published his first collection of short stories, Free and Other Stories in 1918. The collection contained 11 stories. A particularly interesting story, "My Brother Paul", was a brief biography of his older brother, Paul Dresser, who was a famous songwriter in the 1890s. This story was the basis for the 1942 romantic movie, "My Gal Sal".

Other works include The "Genius" and Trilogy of Desire (a three-parter based on the remarkable life of the Chicago streetcar tycoon Charles Tyson Yerkes and composed of The Financier (1912), The Titan (1914), and The Stoic). The latter was published posthumously in 1947.

Dreiser was often forced to battle against censorship because of his depiction of some aspects of life, such as sexual promiscuity, offended authorities and popular opinion.

Political commitment

Politically, Dreiser was involved in several campaigns against social injustice. This included the lynching of Frank Little, one of the leaders of the Industrial Workers of the World, the Sacco and Vanzetti case, the deportation of Emma Goldman, and the conviction of the trade union leader Tom Mooney. In November 1931, Dreiser led the National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners to the coalfields of southeastern Kentucky, where they took testimony from coal miners in Pineville and Harlan on the violence against the miners and their unions by the coal operators.[10]

Dreiser was a committed socialist, and wrote several non-fiction books on political issues. These included Dreiser Looks at Russia (1928), the result of his 1927 trip to the Soviet Union, and two books presenting a critical perspective on capitalist America, Tragic America (1931) and America Is Worth Saving (1941). His vision of capitalism and a future world order with a strong American military dictate combined with the harsh criticism of the latter made him unpopular within the official circles. Although less politically radical friends, such as H.L. Mencken, spoke of Dreiser's relationship with communism as an "unimportant detail in his life," Dreiser's biographer Jerome Loving notes that his political activities since the early 1930s had "clearly been in concert with ostensible communist aims with regard to the working class." [11]

Dreiser died on December 28, 1945 in Hollywood at 74.


Dreiser had an enormous influence on the generation that followed his. In his tribute "Dreiser" from Horses and Men (1923), Sherwood Anderson writes:

Heavy, heavy, the feet of Theodore. How easy to pick some of his books to pieces, to laugh at him for so much of his heavy prose ... [T]he fellows of the ink-pots, the prose writers in America who follow Dreiser, will have much to do that he has never done. Their road is long but, because of him, those who follow will never have to face the road through the wilderness of Puritan denial, the road that Dreiser faced alone.

Alfred Kazin characterized Dreiser as "stronger than all the others of his time, and at the same time more poignant; greater than the world he has described, but as significant as the people in it," while Larzer Ziff (UC Berkeley) remarked that Dreiser "succeeded beyond any of his predecessors or successors in producing a great American business novel." Arguably, Dreiser succeeded beyond any of his predecessors or successors in producing the great American novel.

Renowned mid-century literary critic Irving Howe spoke of Dreiser as "among the American giants, one of the very few American giants we have had."[12] A British view of Dreiser came from the publisher Rupert Hart-Davis: "Theodore Dreiser's books are enough to stop me in my tracks, never mind his letters — that slovenly turgid style describing endless business deals, with a seduction every hundred pages as light relief. If he's the great American novelist, give me the Marx Brothers every time."[13]

One of Dreiser's strongest champions during his lifetime, H.L. Mencken, declared "that he is a great artist, and that no other American of his generation left so wide and handsome a mark upon the national letters. American writing, before and after his time, differed almost as much as biology before and after Darwin. He was a man of large originality, of profound feeling, and of unshakable courage. All of us who write are better off because he lived, worked, and hoped."[14]

Dreiser's great theme was the tremendous tensions that can arise among ambition, desire, and social mores.

In 2008, the Library of America selected Dreiser’s article “Dreiser Sees Error in Edwards Defense” for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American True Crime.


Sister Carrie (1900)
Old Rogaum and His Theresa (1901)
Jennie Gerhardt (1911)
The Financier (1912)
The Titan (1914)
The "Genius" (1915)
Free and Other Stories (1918)
Twelve Men (1919)
An American Tragedy (1925)
Chains: Lesser Novels and Stories (1927)
A Gallery of Women (1929)
The Bulwark (1946)
The Stoic (1947)


Plays of the Natural and Supernatural (1916)
The Hand of the Potter (1918), first produced 1921


A Traveler at Forty (1913)
A Hoosier Holiday (1916)
Hey Rub-a-Dub-Dub: A Book of the Mystery and Wonder and Terror of Life (1920)
A Book About Myself (1922); republished (unexpurgated) as Newspaper Days (1931)
The Color of a Great City (1923)
Dreiser Looks at Russia (1928)
My City (1929)
Tragic America (1931)
Dawn (1931)
America Is Worth Saving (1941)


1.^ Van Doren, Carl (1925). American and British Literature since 1890. Century Company.
2.^ Yoshinobu Hakutani, 'Preface', in Theodore Dreiser, Selected Magazine Articles: v.1: Life and Art in the American 1890's: Vol 1, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press,U.S., 1985, p. 10
3.^ Donald Pizer Pizer, Theodore Dreiser: Interviews, University of Illinois Press, 2005, p. xiii [1]
4.^ Newlin, Keith (2003). A Theodore Dreiser Encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 78. ISBN 0-313-31680-5. 
5.^ Newlin, Keith (2003). A Theodore Dreiser Encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 101. ISBN 0-313-31680-5.
6.^ Shorter, Edward (2005). Written in the flesh: a history of desire. University of Toronto Press. p. 216. ISBN 0802038433.
7.^ Anne P. Rice (2003). Witnessing lynching: American writers respond. Rutgers University Press. p. 151–170. ISBN 9780813533308.
8.^ [2]
9.^ Fishkin, Shelley Fisher (1988). From Fact to Fiction. Oxford University Press.
10.^ Theodore Dreiser et al., Harlan Miners Speak: Report on Terrorism in the Kentucky Coal Fields (Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1932; rpt. Da Capo Press, 1970).
11.^ Jerome Loving, The Last Titan: A Life of Theodore Dreiser. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005. ISBN 0520234812, ISBN 9780520234819. P. 398.
12.^ Rodden, John (2005). Irving Howe and the Critics: Celebrations and Attacks. Nebraska U.P..
13.^ Hart-Davis (ed). Lyttelton/Hart-Davis Letters, Vol 4 (1959 letters), John Murray, London, 1982. ISBN 0719539411, Letter dated 30 August 1959
14.^ Riggio, Thomas P., "Biography of Theodore Dreiser," http://www.library.upenn.edu/collections/rbm/dreiser/tdbio.html, Accessed March 22, 2008
Cassuto, Leonard and Clare Virginia Eby, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Theodore Dreiser. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Loving, Jerome. The Last Titan: A Life of Theodore Dreiser. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.

An American Tragedy (Signet Classics)Sister Carrie (Enriched Classics)The FinancierTheodore Dreiser : Sister Carrie, Jennie Gerhardt, Twelve Men (Library of America)A Place in the SunThe Last Titan: A Life of Theodore Dreiser

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Torture Garden (1967) "The Man Who Collected Poe"

Torture Garden is a 1967 British horror film made by Amicus Productions. It was directed by Freddie Francis and scripted by Robert Bloch. It stars Burgess Meredith, Jack Palance, Michael Ripper, Beverly Adams, Peter Cushing, Maurice Denham, Ursula Howells, Michael Bryant and Barbara Ewing. The score was a collaboration between Hammer horror regulars James Bernard and Don Banks.

It is one of producer Milton Subotsky's trademark "portmanteau" films, an omnibus of short stories linked by a single narrative.


Five people visit a fairground sideshow run by the sinister Dr. Diabolo (Meredith). Having shown them a handful of haunted-house-style attractions, he promises them a genuinely scary experience if they will pay extra. Their curiosity gets the better of them, and the small crowd follows him behind a curtain, where they each view their fate through the shears of the female deity Atropos (Clytie Jessop).

In "Enoch", a greedy playboy (Bryant) takes advantage of his dying uncle (Denham), and falls under the spell of a man-eating cat. In "Terror Over Hollywood," a Hollywood starlet (Adams) discovers her co-stars are androids. In "Mr. Steinway," a possessed grand piano by the name of Euterpe becomes jealous of its owner's new lover (Ewing) and takes revenge. And in "The Man Who Collected Poe," a Poe collector (Palance) murders another collector (Cushing) over a collectable he refuses to show him, only to find his fate with Edgar Allan Poe himself.

Torture Garden


Jack Palance as Ronald Wyatt
Burgess Meredith as Dr. Diabolo
Beverly Adams as Carla Hayes
Peter Cushing as Lancelot Canning
Michael Bryant as Colin Williams
Barbara Ewing as Dorothy Endicott
John Standing as Leo
John Phillips as Storm
Michael Ripper as Gordon Roberts
Bernard Kay as Dr. Heim
Maurice Denham as Uncle Roger
Ursula Howells as Miss Chambers
David Bauer as Charles
Niall MacGinnis as Doctor

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Deathday: Fantasy Author WIlhelm Grimm 1859

Wilhelm Carl Grimm (also Karl;[a] 24 February 1786 – 16 December 1859) was a German author, the younger of the Brothers Grimm.

Life and work

He was born in Hanau, Germany and in 1803 he started studying law at the University of Marburg, one year after his brother Jacob started there. The whole of the lives of the two brothers were passed together. In their school days, they had one bed and one table in common. As students, they had two beds and two tables in the same room. They always lived under one roof, and had their books and property in common.[1]

In 1825 Wilhelm married a pharmacist's daughter; Henriette Dorothea Wild, also known as Dortchen, at age 39. Wilhelm's marriage in no way disturbed the harmony of the brothers.[1] As Richard Cleasby said, “they both live in the same house, and in such harmony and community that one might almost imagine the children were common property.”[1][2] Together, Wilhelm and Henriette had four children: Jacob Grimm (3 April 1826–15 December 1826), Herman Friedrich Grimm (6 January 1828–16 June 1901), Rudolf Georg Grimm (31 March 1830–13 November 1889), and Auguste Luise Pauline Marie (21 August 1832–9 February 1919).

Wilhelm's character was a complete contrast to that of his brother. As a boy he was strong and healthy, but as he grew up he was attacked by a long and severe illness, which left him weak all his life. His was a less comprehensive and energetic mind than that of his brother, and he had less of the spirit of investigation, preferring to confine himself to some limited and definitely bounded field of work; he utilized everything that bore directly on his own studies, and ignored the rest. These studies were almost always of a literary nature.[1]

Wilhelm took great delight in music, for which his brother had but a moderate liking, and had a remarkable gift of story-telling. Cleasby, in the account of his visit to the brothers quoted above, relates that “Wilhelm read a sort of farce written in the Frankfort dialect, depicting the ‘malheurs’ of a rich Frankfort tradesman on a holiday jaunt on Sunday. It was very droll, and he read it admirably.” Cleasby describes him as “an uncommonly animated, jovial fellow.” He was, accordingly, much sought in society, which he frequented much more than his brother.[1]

From 1837-1841, the Grimm Brothers joined five of their colleague professors at the University of Göttingen to form a group known as the Göttinger Sieben (The Göttingen Seven). They protested against Ernst August, King of Hanover, whom they accused of violating the constitution. All seven were fired by the king.

Wilhelm Grimm died in Berlin of an infection at the age of 73.

The Brothers Grimm (German: Die Brüder Grimm or Die Gebrüder Grimm), Jacob (4 January 1785 – 20 September 1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (24 February 1786 – 16 December 1859), were German academics best known for publishing collections of folk tales and fairy tales, which became popular.[1] Jacob also did academic work in linguistics, related to how the sounds in words shift over time (Grimm's law), and together they wrote a German dictionary.

They are among the best-known story tellers of folk tales from Europe, and their work popularized such tales as "Rumpelstiltskin"(German: Rumpelstilzchen), "Snow White", "Sleeping Beauty", "Rapunzel", "Cinderella"(German: Aschenputtel), "Hansel and Gretel(German: Hänsel und Gretel)", and "The Frog Prince"(German: Der Froschkönig).

Individual works of Wilhelm Grimm

Altdänische Heldenlieder, Balladen und Märchen (Old Danish Heroic Lays, Ballads, and Folktales) in 1811
Über deutsche Runen (On German Runes) in 1821.
Die deutsche Heldensage (The German Heroic Legend) in 1829.


In Terry Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm, Academy Award winner Matt Damon played a fictionalized version of Wilhelm. A slightly less fictionalized version of Wilhelm was played by Laurence Harvey in the 1962 film The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm.


a. ^ The Neue Deutsche Biographie records their names as "Grimm, Jacob Ludwig Carl"[3] and "Grimm, Wilhelm Carl".[4] The Deutsches biographisches Archiv records Wilhelm's name as "Grimm, Wilhelm Karl".[4] The Allgemeine deutsche Biographie gives the names as "Grimm: Jacob (Ludwig Karl)"[5] and "Grimm: Wilhelm (Karl)".[6] The National Union Catalog Pre-1956 Imprints also gives Wilhelm's name as "Grimm, Wilhelm Karl".[4]


1.^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). "Grimm, Wilhelm Carl". Encyclopædia Britannica (Eleventh ed.). Cambridge University Press.
2.^ “Life of Cleasby,” prefixed to his Icelandic Dictionary, p. lxix.
3.^ Deutsche National Bibliothek, citing Neue Deutsche Biographie.
4.^ Deutsche National Bibliothek, citing Neue Deutsche Biographie, Deutsches biographisches Archiv and The National Union Catalog Pre-1956 Imprints.
5.^ Wilhelm Scherer: Grimm, Jacob (Ludwig Karl). In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Band 9, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1879, S. 678–688. (German)
6.^ Wilhelm Scherer: Grimm, Wilhelm (Karl). In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Band 9, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1879, S. 690–695. (German)

The Brothers GrimmThe Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm All-New Third EditionThe Brothers Grimm [Blu-ray]Fairy Tales Double Feature: Once Upon a Brothers Grimm/PinocchioThe Annotated Brothers Grimm (The Annotated Books)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Deathday: "Robinson Crusoe" Alexander Selkirk 1721

Alexander Selkirk (1676 – 13 December 1721) was a Scottish sailor who spent four years as a castaway when he was marooned on an uninhabited island. It is probable that his travels provided the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe.

Early life

The son of a shoemaker and tanner in Lower Largo, Fife, Scotland, Selkirk was born in 1676. In his youth he displayed a quarrelsome and unruly disposition. Summoned on 27 August 1695 before the Kirk Session for his "undecent carriage" (indecent behaviour) in church, he "did not comper [appear], having gone away to þe [the] seas: this business is continued till his return"[sic].

At an early period he was engaged in buccaneer expeditions to the South Seas and in 1703 joined in with the expedition of famed privateer and explorer William Dampier. While Dampier was captain of the St. George, Selkirk served on the galley Cinque Ports, the St. George's companion, as a sailing master serving under Thomas Stradling.


In October 1704, after the ships had parted ways because of a dispute between Stradling and Dampier, the Cinque Ports was brought by Stradling to the uninhabited archipelago of Juan Fernández off the coast of Chile for a mid-expedition restocking of supplies and fresh water. Selkirk had grave concerns by this time about the seaworthiness of this vessel (indeed, the Cinque Ports later foundered, losing most of its hands). He tried to convince some of his crewmates to desert with him, remaining on the island; he was counting on an impending visit by another ship. No one else agreed to come along with him. Stradling, who was tired of Selkirk's troublemaking, declared that he would grant him his wish and leave him alone on Juan Fernández. Selkirk promptly regretted his decision. He chased and called after the boat, to no avail. Selkirk lived the next four years and four months without any human company. All he had brought with him was a musket, gunpowder, carpenter's tools, a knife, a Bible, some clothing and rope.

Life on the island

Hearing strange sounds from the inland, which he feared were dangerous beasts, Selkirk remained at first along the shoreline. During this time he ate shellfish and scanned the ocean daily for rescue, suffering all the while from loneliness, misery and remorse. Hordes of raucous sea lions, gathered on the beach for the mating season, eventually drove him to the island's interior. Once there, his way of life took a turn for the better. More foods were now available: feral goats – introduced by earlier sailors – provided him meat and milk, wild turnips, cabbage, and black pepper berries offered him variety and spice. Although rats would attack him at night, he was able, by domesticating and living near feral cats, to sleep soundly and in safety.

Selkirk proved resourceful in using equipment from the ship as well as materials that were native to the island. He built two huts[1] out of pimento trees. He used his musket to hunt goats and his knife to clean their carcasses. As his gunpowder dwindled, he had to chase prey on foot. During one such chase he was badly injured when he tumbled from a cliff, lying unconscious for about a day. (His prey had cushioned his fall, sparing him a broken back.)[2] He read from the Bible frequently, finding it a comfort to him in his condition and a mainstay for his English.

When Selkirk's clothes wore out, he made new garments from goatskin, using a nail for sewing. The lessons he had learned as a child from his father, a tanner, helped him greatly during his stay on the island. As his shoes became unusable, he had no need to make new ones, since his toughened, callused feet made protection unnecessary. He forged a new knife out of barrel rings left on the beach.

Two vessels had arrived and departed before his escape, but both of them were Spanish: as a Scotsman and privateer, he risked a terrible fate if captured. He hid himself from these crews at one point in a tree at the bottom of which some of the Spanish crews who were pursuing him urinated but did not discover him.[3]

His long-anticipated rescue occurred on 2 February 1709 by way of the Duke, a privateering ship piloted by the above-mentioned William Dampier. Selkirk was discovered by the Duke's captain, Woodes Rogers, who referred to him as Governor of the island. Now rescued, he was almost incoherent in his joy. The agile Selkirk, catching two or three goats a day, helped restore the health of Rogers' men. Rogers eventually made Selkirk his mate, giving him independent command of one of his ships. Rogers' A cruising voyage round the world: first to the South-Sea, thence to the East-Indies, and homewards by the Cape of Good Hope was published in 1712 and included an account of Selkirk's ordeal.

Journalist Richard Steele interviewed Selkirk about his adventures and wrote a much-read article about him in The Englishman.[4]

Early in 1717 Selkirk returned to Lower Largo but stayed only a few months. There he met Sophia Bruce, a sixteen-year-old dairymaid. They eloped to London but apparently did not marry. In March 1717 he again went off to sea. While on a visit to Plymouth, he married a widowed innkeeper. According to the ship's log, Selkirk died at 8 p.m. on 13 December 1721 while serving as a lieutenant on board the Royal ship Weymouth. He probably succumbed to the yellow fever which had devastated the voyage. He was buried at sea off the west coast of Africa.

Several people who spoke to Selkirk after his rescue (such as Captain Rogers and the journalist Steele) were impressed by the tranquillity of mind and vigour of the body that Selkirk had attained while on the island. Rogers stated that "one may see that Solitude and Retirement from the World is not such an unsufferable State of Life as most Men imagine, especially when People are fairly call'd or thrown into it unavoidably, as this Man was".[3] Steele noted that "This plain Man's Story is a memorable Example, that he is happiest who confines his Wants to natural Necessities; and he that goes further in his Desires, increases his Wants in Proportion to his Acquisitions."[4]


In 1863, the crew of HMS Topaze placed a bronze tablet on a spot called Selkirk's Lookout on a hill of the island in memory of his stay.[5] On 1 January 1966 Selkirk's island was officially renamed Robinson Crusoe Island. At the same time, the most western island of the Juan Fernández Islands was renamed Alejandro Selkirk Island although Selkirk probably never saw that island (97 miles west).

On 11 December 1885, after a speech by Lord Aberdeen, Lady Aberdeen unveiled a bronze statue and plaque of Alexander Selkirk outside a house on the site of Selkirk's original home on the Main Street of Lower Largo, Fife, Scotland. David Gillies of Cardy House, Lower Largo, a descendant of the Selkirks, donated the statue and T. Stuart Burnett ARAS designed it[6].

Archaeological finding of the camp of Selkirk

Around 2000, an expedition led by the Japanese Daisuke Takahashi, searching for Selkirk's camp on the island, found part of an early eighteenth (or late seventeenth) century nautical instrument that almost certainly belonged to Selkirk.[7]

Research by Dr. David Caldwell purports to have found his camp on the island.[8]

Selkirk in other literary works

William Cowper's The Solitude Of Alexander Selkirk is about the feelings of Alexander Selkirk as he lived all alone on the island. This poem gave rise to the common phrase "monarch of all I survey" via the verse:

I am monarch of all I survey,
My right there is none to dispute;
From the centre all round to the sea,
I am lord of the fowl and the brute.

In Allan Cole and Chris Bunch's Sten science fiction series, Book Two, The Wolf Worlds, the Scottish character Alex bemoans their predicament after crash landing; 'A slackit way f'r a mon,' Alex mourned to himself. 'Ah dinnae ken Ah'd ever be Alex Selkirk.'

Selkirk is mentioned in Sailing Alone Around The World by Joshua Slocum. During his stay on the Juan Fernández Islands, Slocum runs across a marker commemorating Selkirk's stay.

Charles Dickens used Selkirk as a simile in Chapter Two of The Pickwick Papers: "Colonel Builder and Sir Thomas Clubber exchanged snuff–boxes, and looked very much like a pair of Alexander Selkirks — 'Monarchs of all they surveyed.'" This probably refers to William Cowper's poem.

In his poem "Inniskeen Road: July Evening", the poet Patrick Kavanagh likens his loneliness on the road to that of Selkirk:

Oh, Alexander Selkirk knew the plight
Of being king and government and nation.
A road, a mile of kingdom, I am king
Of banks and stones and every blooming thing.

In Etiquette, one of W.S. Gilbert's Bab Ballads, Selkirk is used as a model for the English castaways:

These passengers, by reason of their clinging to a mast,
Upon a desert island were eventually cast.
They hunted for their meals, as Alexander Selkirk used,
But they couldn’t chat together – they had not been introduced.


1.^ Lloyd Parry, Richard (1 November 2008). "Dig finds camp of 'real Crusoe'". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/7703375.stm.
2.^ Rodgers, Woodes, Providence display’d, or a very surprising account of one, p. 6.
3.^ Rodgers, Woodes, A Cruising Voyage round the World Diary entry for Feb 2nd
4.^ Article, dated 1 December 1713.
5.^ Kraske (2005), p.100
6.^ Notable Dates in History by Scots Independent
7.^ "In an ill hour I went on board a ship bound for London". The Times (London). 17 September 2005. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-1783811,00.html. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
8.^ Alleyne, Richard (30 October 2008). "Mystery of Alexander Selkirk, the real Robinson Crusoe, solved". The Daily Telegraph (London). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/3286355/Mystery-of-Alexander-Selkirk-the-real-Robinson-Crusoe-solved.html. Retrieved 2008-10-30.


Selcraig, B. (July 2005). "The Real Robinson Crusoe". Smithsonian, p. 82-90.
Robert Kraske. (2005). Marooned: The Strange But True Adventures of Alexander Selkirk. Clarion Books. ISBN 0618568433.

Further reading

Diana Souhami, Selkirk's Island: The True and Strange Adventures of the Real Robinson Crusoe, (2001) ISBN 0-15-100526-5
Daisuke Takahashi, In Search of Robinson Crusoe, (2002) ISBN 0-8154-1200-2
Evers, Marco (2009-02-06).

Marooned: The Strange but True Adventures of Alexander Selkirk, the Real Robinson CrusoeSelkirk's Island: The True and Strange Adventures of the Real Robinson CrusoeIn Search of Robinson CrusoeAlexander Selkirk-The Real Robinson Crusoe (Short books)Crusoe's Island: A Ramble in the Footsteps of Alexander SelkirkThe life and adventures of Alexander SelkirkDaniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Alexander SelkirkThe Man Who Was Robinson Crusoe: A Personal View of Alexander Selkirk