I just finished Daniel Defoe's classic work Robinson Crusoe, or, as it was originally titled (charmingly to modern ears), The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, where-in all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver'd by Pyrates. Written by Himself.
While for me the reading went exceedingly slow, perhaps due in part to the lack of chapter divisions, in the end I quite enjoyed it and would offer several reflections on its content and manner, viz::
On this note a final reflection relevant to artistic creation: early in the novel Defoe uses the literary device of showing us Crusoe's daily diary over a period of time, then drops it when Crusoe runs out of ink, returning to a normal narrative style. Richetti says and I tend to agree this device falls somewhat flat and ultimately seems random or pointless in the overall context of the book; while its purpose as Richetti explains may have been to offer immediacy it doesn't really accomplish this especially well. To whatever degree this may be true it is striking to me Crusoe remains one of the most popular books of all time; as a modern reader despite any imperfections I took much from its story of spiritual development and was excited by the various adventures of escape at the end.
This stirkes me as a good reminder the importance of respecting limits and constraints of time and place and doing our best to produce nonetheless, not allowing ourselves to get caught up in the shackles of perfectionism. Defoe apparently was an incredibly prolific writer, moved in part by significant economic pressures, and Robinson Crusoe was but one minor part of his overall oeuvre, at least in terms of quantity. At some point our urge to quality in other words must be balanced by the need to produce since after all our lives depend on it.