The Footprint on Crusoe's Island & its use in critical theory
September 9, 2015 7:03 AM   Subscribe

The single appearance of the footprint in Daniel Defoe's 1719 novel, Robinson Crusoe, is perhaps one of the most famous events in all of literature. I am interested in who has referenced it, and for what ends, especially in critical theory. I also wonder whether Michel Foucault's famous closing lines to 'The Order of Things' is a subtle reference to the appearance of that footprint? Can other allusions to 'the figure of man' and marks in the sand be traced back to Defoe's novel?
posted by 0bvious to Religion & Philosophy (3 answers total)
Well - there is the story of how locals of the village of Lower Largo in Fife - home of Alexander Selkirk - on whom Crusoe is based - have been pondering (and griping about) the appearance of mysterious white footprints stenciled on the occasional rock.

(Lower Largo is a wonderful and fabulously low key place to visit given the global size of the Crusoe story - there is a statue, a sailing club, a chance to get a fish supper at the Crusoe Hotel -and a fine sandy beach to leave your own prints in tribute ).
posted by rongorongo at 9:08 AM on September 9, 2015

Michel de Certeau spends ~3 pages on Robinson Crusoe in chapter 11 of The Practice of Everyday Life, and he references the footprint explicitly a couple of times. He mentions the novel a few times in Heterologies too, but none of the references seem very significant. I think you might also be interested in Hans Blumenberg's Shipwreck with Spectator; it doesn't spend any time on Robinson Crusoe, but you might get some useful thematic points from it.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:30 AM on September 9, 2015

Lost, more or less.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:09 AM on September 9, 2015

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