Robert Louis Stevenson
“He lived to the topmost pulse…he never fails of the thing that we most love letters for, the full expression of the moment and the mood, the actual good or bad or middling, the thing in his head, his heart or his house.” —Henry James, Notes on Novelists
One hundred years after his death Robert Louis Stevenson is still revered as a master stylist and magnificent storyteller, the author of classics such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, A Child's Garden of Verses and other poems, elegant and macabre short stories, and such wonderful evocations of place and people as Travels with a Donkey and Our Samoan Adventure. In recent years there has been a wave of enthusiasm for the author of these works, with the publication of major biographies and collections of his letters.
Magic islands and journeys—real and imagined—are the focus of this fascinating volume, in which Stevenson is seen through the eyes of fifty witnesses from all over the world. The collection brings together the most memorable interviews and recollections from a wealth of material, portraying the life and times of one of the nineteenth century's most successful writers.
Battling constant sickness, traveling the globe, braving Pacific storms, Stevenson was not only a writer of romance, but a hero of romance, as several observers note. He escaped the respectable parental home in Edinburgh to become a bohemian and artist in the south of France, where he fell in love with Fanny Osbourne. After he pursued her back to California, they married, and thereafter journeyed in Scotland, Europe, the United States and the South Sea Islands, where they settled in Apia, Samoa; Stevenson died in 1894 at the age of forty-four.
R. C. Terry has created a portrait of Stevenson through the eyes of key figures in his life, including his beloved Fanny Osbourne and his confidante, Frances Sitwell. From Andrew Lang to Henry Adams, from his mother, Margaret Stevenson, to his stepson, Lloyd Osbourne, these evocative selections expand our view of the short life of a monumental writer.