Felipe Delgado, Another of the Robinsons


  • Javier Sanjinés C. University of Michigan




City, logical obversion, marginality, memory, underground


Robinson Crusoe, the extraordinary ship-wrecked protagonist of Defoe’s novel, is actually a modern transfiguration of the old myth of the “savage man,” a myth that this article revisits. Robinson is brought by Defoe into a savage existence because the author intends to demonstrate that it is possible to defeat savagery in one’s own land, turning Robinson into the virtuous and modern homo economicus. But there are other Robinsons that challenge the original: that of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and the urban Robinson, conceived in novelistic form by Antonio Muñoz Molina. Both serve as models for my reading of Felipe Delgado as a novel that exemplifies the marginal Robinson. As happens to some of the characters in Antonio Muñoz Molina’s novels, the Bolivian poet and novelist Jaime Saenz creates an urban, marginalized and eccentric Robinson that, unlike the previous mentioned, without a rational goal motivating him, secretly celebrates his incurable shipwrecks. Felipe is the Robinson born out of the lucid necessity of alcohol. Clairvoyant and repentant of his future, he is born for the night, a space and time that permits him to delve into the heart of the memory of his city.



Author Biography

Javier Sanjinés C., University of Michigan

Professor of Spanish