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A biography of the life and literary work of robert louis stevenson

See Article History Alternative Title: Hyde 1886and The Master of Ballantrae 1889. Early life Stevenson was the only son of Thomas Stevenson, a prosperous civil engineer, and his wife, Margaret Isabella Balfour. But Stevenson had no desire to be an engineer, and he eventually agreed with his father, as a compromise, to prepare instead for the Scottish bar.

His youthful enthusiasm for the Covenanters i. In 1873, in the midst of painful differences with his father, he visited a married cousin in Suffolk, England, where he met Sidney Colvin, the English scholar, who became a lifelong friend, and Fanny Sitwell who later married Colvin. Sitwell, an older woman of charm and talent, drew the young man out and won his confidence.

Soon Stevenson was deeply in love, and on his return to Edinburgh he wrote her a series of letters in which he played the part first of lover, then of worshipper, then of son. Eventually the passion turned into a lasting friendship.

  • Poems by Robert Louis Stevenson;
  • Catriona 1893 , also known as David Balfour , is a sequel, telling of Balfour's further adventures.

Later in 1873 Stevenson suffered severe respiratory illness and was sent to the French Riviera, where Colvin later joined him. He returned home the following spring.

In July 1875 he was called to the Scottish bar, but he never practiced. Stevenson was frequently abroad, most often in France.

  • Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa, c;
  • Andrew Noble From the Clyde to California:

His career as a writer developed slowly. It was these early essays, carefully wrought, quizzically meditative in tone, and unusual in sensibility, that first drew attention to Stevenson as a writer. Stephen brought Stevenson into contact with Edmund Gosse, the poet and critic, who became a good friend. Later, when in Edinburgh, Stephen introduced Stevenson to the writer W.

Robert Louis Stevenson

In 1876 Stevenson met Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne, an American lady separated from her husband, and the two fell in love. Stevenson reached California ill and penniless the record of his arduous journey appeared later in The Amateur Emigrant, 1895, and Across the Plains, 1892.

His adventures, which included coming very near death and eking out a precarious living in Monterey and San Francisco, culminated in marriage to Fanny Osbourne who was by then divorced from her first husband early in 1880. About the same time a telegram from his relenting father offered much-needed financial support, and, after a honeymoon by an abandoned silver mine recorded in The Silverado Squatters1883the couple sailed for Scotland to achieve reconciliation with the Thomas Stevensons.

Romantic novels Soon after his return, Stevenson, accompanied by his wife and his stepson, Lloyd Osbourne, went, on medical advice he had tuberculosisto Davos, Switzerland. The family left there in April 1881 and spent the summer in Pitlochry and then in BraemarScotland. There, in spite of bouts of illness, Stevenson embarked on Treasure Island begun as a game with Lloydwhich started as a serial in Young Folks, under the title The Sea-Cook, in October 1881.

  • The book is at once a gripping adventure tale and a wry comment on the ambiguity of human motives;
  • Stevenson made several trips to the Kingdom of Hawaii and became a good friend of King David Kalakaua with whom Stevenson spent much time;
  • In Kidnapped the fruit of his researches into 18th-century Scottish history and of his feeling for Scottish landscape, history, character, and local atmosphere mutually illuminate one another;
  • As these compositions show, young Stevenson was tremendously influenced by the strong religious convictions of his parents;
  • Impoverished, sick, and starving, he lived in Monterey and then San Francisco, nearly dying in both places;
  • He studied at Edinburgh Academy in his youth.

Stevenson finished the story in Davos, to which he had returned in the autumn, and then started on Prince Otto 1885a more complex but less successful work. Treasure Island is an adventure presented with consummate skill, with atmosphere, character, and action superbly geared to one another.

The book is at once a gripping adventure tale and a wry comment on the ambiguity of human motives. Robert Louis Stevenson, 1880. The winter of 1881 he spent at a chalet in Davos.

A Tale of the Two Roses 1888a historical adventure tale deliberately written in anachronistic language. They lived at Bournemouth from September 1884 until July 1887, but his frequent bouts of dangerous illness proved conclusively that the British climate, even in the south of England, was not for him. The Bournemouth years were fruitful, however. There he got to know and love the American novelist Henry James. In Kidnapped the fruit of his researches into 18th-century Scottish history and of his feeling for Scottish landscape, history, character, and local atmosphere mutually illuminate one another.

But it was Dr. Jekyll—both moral allegory and thriller—that established his reputation with the ordinary reader. In August 1887, still in search of health, Stevenson set out for America with his wife, mother, and stepson.

  1. Like the other writers who were asserting the serious artistic nature of the novel at this time he writes in a careful, almost poetic style — yet he provocatively combines this with an interest in popular genres.
  2. He died in December 1894 and even shaped the manner of his burial. Finally she declared that Stevenson should have written an allegory instead of a straight piece of sensationalism.
  3. Most sources say Stevenson was six years old when, competing against his cousins, he won a prize from one of his Balfour uncles for a history of Moses. In Kidnapped the fruit of his researches into 18th-century Scottish history and of his feeling for Scottish landscape, history, character, and local atmosphere mutually illuminate one another.

On arriving in New York, he found himself famous, with editors and publishers offering lucrative contracts. This novelanother exploration of moral ambiguitiescontains some of his most impressive writing, although it is marred by its contrived conclusion. Life in the South Seas In June 1888 Stevenson, accompanied by his family, sailed from San Francisco in the schooner yacht Casco, which he had chartered, on what was intended to be an excursion for health and pleasure.

In fact, he was to spend the rest of his life in the South Seas. They went first to the Marquesas Islandsthen to Fakarava Atoll, then to Tahitithen to Honoluluwhere they stayed nearly six months, leaving in June 1889 for the Gilbert Islandsand then to Samoawhere he spent six weeks.

He was writing first-rate journalism, deepened by the awareness of landscape and atmosphere, such as that so notably rendered in his description of the first landfall at Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas. In October 1890 he returned to Samoa from a voyage to Sydney and established himself and his family in patriarchal status at Vailima, his house in Samoa. The climate suited him; he led an industrious and active life; and, when he died suddenly, it was of a cerebral hemorrhagenot of the long-feared tuberculosis.

His work during those years was moving toward a new maturity. The next phase was demonstrated triumphantly in Weir of Hermiston 1896the unfinished masterpiece on which he was working on the day of his death.

Stevenson achieved in this work a remarkable richness of tragic texture in a style stripped of all superfluities. The dialogue contains some of the best Scots prose in modern literature. Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa, c. The reaction against him set in soon after his death: