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Fears, Apprehensions and Conjectures

Suspense in Robinson Crusoe

Riccardo Capoferro    La Sapienza Università di Roma    

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abstract

The importance of Robinson Crusoe in the origins of the novel depends not only on its progressive plot and empirical style, but also on its pioneering narrative devices. Defoe’s work is characterised, in particular, by a new approach to the creation of suspense, considered by narratologists as one of the universals of narrative. This approach is based on a consistent, highly diversified use of hypothetical thinking. Crusoe’s emotionally charged previsions have the function of presenting possible plot developments, staging, and causing, the oscillation between fear and hope that is characteristic of suspense. Defoe’s work with suspense shows that epistemological change, in particular the rise of the modern notion of probability, had relevant implications also at the level of narrative discourse.

Published
Dec. 18, 2017
Accepted
Oct. 11, 2017
Submitted
Sept. 10, 2017
Language
IT