Robert Louis Stevenson

Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson, perhaps best known for three novels, Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, was certainly a multifaceted author, and these three books represent his favorite subjects: The diabolical, which spilled over into stories that weren't creep tales like Jekyll and Hyde; children's stories, especially "boy novels;" and historical novels, particularly from the mid-1700s in Scotland, the period of the Jacobite uprisings. But he also wrote lots of children's tales and verses, and many non-fictional books. Because he traveled to many diverse places in an attempt to find a healthful climate, he had some quite extraordinary adventures, making these books/essays/journals very intersting reading. No matter what he had to say, he always had an exciting way to say it.

He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1850. Though he came from a family of lighthouse engineers, Robert was destined to become a writer, perhaps not as of great a distiction as some other Victorian writers, but quite possibly had he lived to a ripe old age, that would not be so. I personally have thoroughly enjoyed every book of his that I've read.

Stevenson was an only child and a sickly one, and grew to be a sickly adult, leaving him very thin. He had coughs and fevers—some type of brochial issues. As he grew older, he strayed more from family expectations and conservative attitudes, and in 1871, decided to study law. But he never practiced it, as he became more involved in the literary world, and eventually broke from his parents. In 1873, he became seriously ill and went to the French Riviera to recouperate. There he met Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne, from Indianapolis, who had brought her daughter to France so they could study art. Fanny was estranged from her husband for his infidelities. She and Stevenson became lovers, and after she returned to San Francisco, Robert eventually went to her on a grueling trip, with almost no money (to increase the spirit of adventure!), by steamboat, then train which nearly killed him. Some ranchers in Monterey, California nursed him back to health, but he made it to Fanny's side. They were married in 1880.

The Stevensons searched for a place to live in Europe and the United States that would be healthful for Robert. They spent time at a "cure cottage" in New York's Adirondaks, at Saranac Lake, now known as Stevenson Cottage (pictured below). They finally settled in Samoa, where he died in 1894. Though his life was short, his adventures were rich, giving him much material for his writing. And for such a brief time on earth, he wrote a great deal, including novels, essays, poetry, and musical compositions.

The biographical material here, courtesy of Wikipedia

Stevenson Cottage

Novels by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses
David Balfour, or, Catriona
The Master of Ballantrae
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
The Suicide Club
Treasure Island

Collections by Robert Louis Stevenson

New Arabian Nights

Breille, 19th century

Coloring Books

Treasure Island

Portrait by John Singer Sargent, 1887

Multi-Author Collections with a story by Stevenson

Classic Ghost Stories by Wilkie Collins. . . and Others

(The Body Snatchers)

Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne, c.1876

Stevenson by Henry Walter Barnett, 1893

Travel Books

In the South Seas

Stevenson Home in Vailima, 1893

Stevenson Family and Household in Vailima, Samoa, 1892

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