Johann David Wyss

Johann David Wyss

Johann David Wyss (1743-1818), a Swiss pastor, is credited with the writing of The Swiss Family Robinson. This is true, but it is also difficult to tell, at this late date, whether he was the author of any particular passage or episode in the book.

It is certain that Wyss told some of the episodes to his children (he had four sons just like the Swiss pastor in the story). His son, Johann Emmanuel, even made woodcut illustrations to accompany the 800+ page handwritten manuscript. In 1812, another of his sons, Johann Rudolf Wyss, a professor of philosophy, found his father's unfinished manuscript and persuaded his father to let him rewrite it, edit it, and submit it for publication. On publication, it became so famous that within the next fifty years it had been translated into several languages. Often new episodes were added at the whim of the translator, and it was even retranslated (in its expanded versions) back into German.

Although the first English version was translated by Mary Jane Godwin and published in 1814 by her husband William Godwin, other English translators include Mrs. H.B. Paull, Henry Frith, and W.H.G. Kingston, first published in 1879, and now considered the standard. This was based on the 1816 French version by Mme la Baronne Isabelle de Montolieu, rather than the original version of J. D. and J.R. Wyss. This blog post from the British Library explains more about the early translations of this story. 

This tangled tale of publishing history is merely a result of the immense popularity of the book, which has by now appeared in over two hundred editions in English alone. It is by far the most famous imitation of Robinson Crusoe, and has itself spawned a host of imitations, some of which are famous in their own right—Captain Marryat's Masterman Ready (1841) and R. M. Ballantyne's Coral Island (1857) for example. But the distinct excellence of The Swiss Family Robinson—and this is undoubtedly due to J. D. Wyss himself—is its ability to teach and educate. This is education in the best sense: education through the entertainment value of an exciting story.

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19 Items found
ECL #04: Swiss Family Robinson
Educator Classic Library #4
by Johann Wyss
Complete and Unabridged Edition from Classic Press
in Educator's Classic Library (Location: FIC-ECL)
Robinson Crusoe / Swiss Family Robinson
by Daniel Defoe, Johann Wyss
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 3rd-8th grade
in Clearance: Fiction & Readers (Location: ZCLE-FIC)
Swiss Family Robinson
Rainbow Classics
by Johann David Wyss, translated by W.H.G. Kingston and illustrated by Jeanne Edwards
from World Publishing Company
for 5th-9th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
Swiss Family Robinson
by Johann David Wyss
from Bantam Books
for 8th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$2.55 (1 in stock)
Swiss Family Robinson
Junior Deluxe Editions
by Johann David Wyss, illustrated by Fritz Kredel
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 5th-9th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
Swiss Family Robinson
Illustrated Junior Library Series 2
by Johann Wyss
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 4th-9th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
Swiss Family Robinson
Illustrated Junior Library Series 4
by Johann Wyss
from Grosset & Dunlap
Realistic Stories/Adventure for 5th-9th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
Swiss Family Robinson
by Johann Wyss
New edition from Yearling
for 5th-9th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$7.64
Swiss Family Robinson
Puffin Classics
by Johann Wyss
from Puffin Books
Realistic Stories/Adventure for 4th-8th grade
in Puffin Classics (Location: FIC-PUF)
$7.99
Swiss Family Robinson
by Johann David Wyss, illustrated by Scott McKowen
from Sterling Publishing Co.
for 6th-9th grade
in Sterling Classics (Location: FIC-STE)
Swiss Family Robinson
Children's Classics
by Johann Wyss, translated by W.H.G. Kingston, and illustrated by T.H. Robinson, Milo Winter, and Louis Rhead
from Dilithium Press, Ltd.
for 5th-9th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
Swiss Family Robinson
Illustrated Junior Library Series 1
by Johann Wyss
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 4th-9th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
Swiss Family Robinson
Illustrated Junior Library Series 3
by Johann Wyss
from Grosset & Dunlap
Realistic Stories/Adventure for 5th-9th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$10.20 (2 in stock)
Swiss Family Robinson
by Johann Wyss, illustrated by Louis Rhead
200th Anniversary from SeaWolf Press
Realistic Stories/Adventure for 5th-9th grade
in Seawolf Illustrated Classics (Location: FIC-SW)
Swiss Family Robinson
by Johann Wyss, Illustrated by T.H. Robinson
from Barnes & Noble
for 4th-9th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
Swiss Family Robinson
Illustrated Junior Library Series 2
by Johann Wyss
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 4th-9th grade
in Vintage & Collectible (Location: VIN-COL)
Swiss Family Robinson - Comprehension Guide
by Jameson & Laurie Detweiler
from Veritas Press
for 5th-8th grade
in Veritas Press Literature Guides (Location: LITSG-VP)
$15.00
Swiss Family Robinson - Guide
Progeny Press Literature Guides
by Rebecca Gilleland
from Progeny Press
Literature Guide for 7th-9th grade
in Progeny Press Literature Guides (Location: LIT-SGPP)
$18.69
Swiss Family Robinson - TLP Guide
Total Language Plus Literature Guides
by Barbara Blakey
from Total Language Plus
for 7th-9th Grade
in Total Language Plus Guides (Location: LITSG-TLP)