Monday, March 4, 2013

Wyss created The Swiss Family Robinson

Illustration from 1906 American edition
It is the birthday of Swiss Army chaplain Johann David Wyss, whose famous book, The Swiss Family Robinson (1812), became one of the most beloved children's novels of all time. Wyss told the stories of the shipwrecked family to his four sons when they were youngsters. He based them on Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719). The boys even took turns making up their own tales. The stories were written down in long-hand and illustrated by one of the sons, Johann Emmanuel Wyss. Many years later when he was grown, another son, Johann Rudolf Wyss, edited the manuscript and had it published. In the years since, many versions of the story have appeared, and it has been adapted for television and the movies.

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