Robinson the Younger. For the Pleasurable and Useful Entertainment of Children
In 1720, just a year after its original publication in London, the first German translation of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe was published. The work soon became widely popular. Only a few years later, German “robinsonades,” imitation versions of Defoe’s novel of shipwreck and survival, appeared on the market. The theologian, educator, and writer Joachim Heinrich Campe produced a two-volume adaptation of Defoe’s original book entitled Robinson der Jüngere (Robinson the younger). The book, published in 1779 (volume one) and 1780 (volume two), was aimed at children between the ages of six and ten. Campe’s Robinson subsequently reappeared in numerous new printings and editions until the middle of the 20th century, and to this day it counts among the most successful children’s books ever written in German. Campe added a subplot framing the main story line, in which a young German castaway survives in the wilds of a desert island. This subplot, which has a father relating Robinson’s adventures to a small audience, contains many moral and educational remarks intended to instruct young readers. Presented here are the first editions of both volumes of Robinson der Jüngere.
Carl Bohn, Hamburg, Germany
Title in Original Language
Robinʃon der Jüngere, ʓur angenehmen und nütʓlichen Unterhaltung für Kinder
Type of Item
- David Blammires, “A World of Discovery: Joachim Heinrich Campe,” in Telling Tales: The Impact of Germany on English Children’s Books 1780−1918 (Cambridge, United Kingdom: Open Book, 2009).
Last updated: July 8, 2015