Well, as you may have guessed it is not Robinson. The author, Herr Wyss does not tell us. The original German title Der Schweizerische Robinson translates as The Swiss Robinson. In 1812, this was a way to associate the story with Robinsonade or Castaway Literature. It’s like calling it The Swiss Noir, or the Swiss Romantic Comedy or The Swiss Musical.
Robinsonade literature takes it name from … wait for it … Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. Published in 1719, it was a hot ticket and inspired many imitators, sequels, and spinoffs. What a franchise!
Somewhere along the line, probably with movies and tv, the family came to be known as the Robinsons. But Robinson is a very English name and they are Swiss, right? And to be true to the original text in at least one way, we never mention it . The top 5 Swiss Surnames are Müller, Meier, Schmid, Keller, and Weber. Wouldn’t German accents be fun?