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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the 1960 film produced by Disney, see Swiss Family Robinson (film)
The Swiss Family Robinson  

Illustration for an English edition by Harry Rountree (1907)
Author Johann David Wyss
Original title Der Schweizerische Robinson
Country Switzerland
Language German
Genre(s) Adventure novel
Publisher Johann Rudolph Wyss (the author's son)
Publication date 1812
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)

The Swiss Family Robinson (German: Der Schweizerische Robinson) is a novel, first published in 1812, about a Swiss family who are shipwrecked in the East Indies en route to Port Jackson, Australia.



As written by Swiss pastor Johann David Wyss, and edited by his son Johann Rudolf Wyss, the novel was intended to teach his four sons about family values, good husbandry, the uses of the natural world and self-reliance. Wyss's attitude towards education is in line with the teachings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and many of the episodes have to do with Christian-oriented moral lessons (frugality, husbandry, resignation, co-operation, etc).[1] The adventures are presented as a series of lessons in natural history and the physical sciences and resemble other similar educational books for children in this period, for example, Charlotte Turner Smith's Rural Walks: in Dialogues intended for the use of Young Persons (1795), Rambles Further: A continuation of Rural Walks (1796), A Natural History of Birds, intended chiefly for young persons (1807). However the novel differs in that it is based on the model of Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, a genuine adventure story,[1] and presents a scientifically impossible array of mammals — including pangolins, porcupines, capybaras, camels, monkeys, lions, leopards, tigers, bears, onagers, peccaries, wild boars, tapirs, mustangs, kangaroos, elephants, hyenas, wolves, giraffes, jackals, walruses, platypuses, koalas, wombats, dingos, zebras, bison, rhinos, hippos, and moose — and a flora that probably could never have existed together — including the rubber plant, flax, coconut palms, sago palms, and Myrica cerifera — on a single island for the edification, nourishment, clothing, and convenience of the children.

Over the years there have been many versions of the story with episodes added, changed, or deleted. Perhaps the most well known English version is by William H. G. Kingston first published in 1879.[1] It is based on Isabelle de Montolieu's 1824 French adaptation Le Robinson suisse, ou, Journal d'un père de famille, naufragé avec ses enfans in which were added further adventures of Fritz, Franz, Ernest, and Jack.[1] Other English editions which claim to include the whole of the Wyss-Montolieu narrative are by W. H. Davenport Adams (1869-10) and Mrs H. B. Paull (1879). As Carpenter and Prichard write in The Oxford Companon to Children's Literature (Oxford, 1995), "with all the expansions and contractions over the past two centuries (this includes a long history of abridgments, condensations, Christianizing, and Disney products), Wyss's original narrative has long since been obscured."[1] The closest English translation to the original is William Godwin's 1816 translation, reprinted by Penguin Classics.[2]

Although movie and TV adaptations typically name the family "Robinson", it is not a Swiss name; the "Robinson" of the title refers to Robinson Crusoe. The German name translates as the Swiss Robinson, implying a Swiss version of Robinson Crusoe, rather than a Swiss family named Robinson.

Map of "New Switzerland"

Other adaptations


  • Willis the pilot: a sequel to The Swiss family Robinson; or, Adventures of an emigrant family wrecked on an unknown coast of the Pacific Ocean (1858) has been attributed to Johann Wyss or to Johanna Spyri, author of Heidi.
  • Second Fatherland (Seconde Patrie, 1900), by Jules Verne takes up the story at the point where Wyss's tale left off. It has also been published in two volumes, Their Island Home and Castaways of the Flag.

The novel has in one form or another been adapted in a number of versions.

  • Al-Ṭurfa al-Šahiyya fī aḫbār al-ʿAʾila al-Swīsiyya - Arabic translation (ca 1900)
  • Swiss Family Robinson (1940 film)
  • Swiss Cheese Family Robinson (Mighty Mouse episode, 1947)
  • Swiss Family Robinson (1960 Disney film)
  • The Swiss Family Robinson (1976)
  • Mountain Family Robinson (1980)
  • The New Swiss Family Robinson (1998 film) [3]
  • The Adventures of Swiss Family Robinson (1998)

The adaptions into television series have also been numerous

There have been a number of adaptions into television movies:

A comic book series updated the adventures to outer space

In 1984, Tom Snyder Productions created a computer adventure game for the Apple II and Commodore 64, published under the Windham Classics label. The player takes the role of Fritz, the eldest brother.

  • Swiss Family Robinson (computer game)


  • Weber, Marie-Hélène (1993). Robinson et robinsonnades : étude comparée de "Robinson Crusoe" de Defoe, "Le Robinson suisse" de J.R. Wyss, "L'Ile mystérieuse" de J. Verne, "Sa majesté des mouches" de W. Golding, "Vendredi ou les limbes du Pacifique" de M. Tournier, Ed.. Universitaires du Sud.  
  • Wyss, Johann. The Swiss Family Robinson, ed John Seelye. Penguin Classics, 2007. The only unabridged complete text genuinely by Wyss (and his son) currently in print.


  1. ^ a b c d e "A Note on Wyss's Swiss Family Robinson, Montolieu's Le Robinson suisse, and Kingston's 1879 text" by Ellen Moody.
  2. ^ John Seelye, ed. The Swiss Family Robinson. Penguin Classics. 2007. ISBN 978-0-14-310499-5
  3. ^ The New Swiss Family Robinson at the Internet Movie Database

See also

External links


Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010
(Redirected to The Swiss Family Robinson article)

From Wikisource

The Swiss Family Robinson
by Johann David Wyss, translated by William Henry Giles Kingston
The Swiss Family Robinson (German: Der Schweizerische Robinson) is a novel, first published in 1812, about a Swiss family who are shipwrecked in the East Indies en route to Port Jackson, Australia.
Excerpted from The Swiss Family Robinson on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This edition is edited by Mary Lamberton Becker, amongst others.

  • Chapter one
  • Chapter two
  • Chapter three
  • Chapter four
  • Chapter five
  • Chapter six
  • Chapter seven
  • Chapter eight
  • Chapter nine
  • Chapter ten
  • Chapter eleven
  • Chapter twelve
  • Chapter thirteen
  • Chapter fourteen
  • Chapter fifteen
  • Chapter sixteen
  • Chapter seventeen
  • Chapter eighteen


For the original work

PD-icon.svg This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

For the current edition

PD-icon.svg This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was legally published within the United States (or the United Nations Headquarters in New York subject to Section 7 of the United States Headquarters Agreement) before 1964, and copyright was not renewed.
For Class A renewals records (books only) published between 1923 and 1963, check the Stanford Copyright Renewal Database and the Rutgers copyright renewal records.
For other renewal records of publications between 1922 - 1950 see the Pennsylvania copyright records scans.
For all records since 1978, search the U.S. Copyright Office records.

Checking on the various renewal DBs shows no evidence of any renewal of this version of the book. Additionally, the biggest obviously "new" contents are the introduction, which has not been transcribed.


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