Following the death of his father, Stevenson decided to take the advice of his doctor and move to a warmer climate. In the following June of , Stevenson charted a yacht and set sail with his family from San Francisco. For nearly three years he traveled the eastern and central Pacific, the sea air and warm climate briefly restoring his health.
Stevenson decided to remain in the Pacific. In he purchased a plot of land of about acres in Upolu, an island in Samoa. Here, after much work and two aborted attempts to visit Scotland, he established himself upon his estate in the village of Vailima. Stevenson decided to take the native name of 'Tusitala', which is Samoan for 'Teller of Tales'. Always an ardent traveller, Stevenson spent the final years of his life living in Samoa. He wrote several works of fiction whilst living here, including Catriona and The Ebb-Tide.
He died suddenly on 3 December, , leaving The Weir of Hermiston - the novel he was working on at the time of his death - unfinished. He was buried at the top of Mount Vaea above his home on Samoa. Upon hearing of his friends death, Henry James wrote the following lines in a letter to Edmund Gosse. Dated 17 December , the letter reads as follows:.
It is too miserable for cold words - it's an absolute desolation. It makes me cold and sick - and with the absolute, almost alarmed sense, of the visible, material, quenching of an indispensable light'. Several of Stevenson's texts are written for children. Treasure Island was the first of these, inspired by a map Stevenson had drawn with his stepson Lloyd whilst holidaying in Scotland.
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However, although the four novels mentioned above all have youthful protagonists and were all first published in magazines for young people, they are also clearly intended for adult readers. A huge success upon its publication in , the novella caused a sensation, drawing upon Victorian anxieties regarding human identity, respectability, and the fear of regression; concerns which fuel the theme of Gothic horror prevalent throughout the text.
A literary celebrity during his lifetime, Stevenson works have been admired by many famous writers including Henry James, Ernest Hemingway and Rudyard Kipling. He was in regular correspondence with Henry James. The two authors would discuss 'the art of fiction' in their letters to one another and the works of other contemporary writers, including those of Thomas Hardy. Analysis of The Strange Case of Dr.
Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Essay about Robert Louis Stevenson - When one reads the nonfiction work of Robert Louis Stevenson along with the novels and short stories, a more complete portrait emerges of the author than that of the romantic vagabond one usually associates with his best-known fiction.
Stevenson, Robert Louis - The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Search Term:. In November Stevenson entered Edinburgh University, where he pursued his studies indifferently until By the time he was twenty-one, he had contributed several papers to the short-lived Edinburgh University Magazine, the best of which was a fanciful bit of fluff entitled "The Philosophy of Umbrellas.
His only consistent course of study seemed to have been of bohemia: Stevenson adopted a wide-brimmed hat, a cravat, and a boy's coat that earned him the nick-name of Velvet Jacket, while he indulged a taste for haunting the byways of Old Town and becoming acquainted with its denizens. The most significant work from his student days was "On a New Form of Intermittent Light for Lighthouses," a scientific piece that explained the economical combination of revolving mirrors and oil-burning lamps. The paper, a result of his engineering studies, revealed his keen eye for technical detail.
Only two weeks later, however, Stevenson took a long walk with his father and declined to follow the family profession of engineering; he meant to become a writer. Thomas Stevenson insisted that the young man study law, and his son stuck to the bargain long enough to receive, in , a law degree he barely used.
It was not the first time that Stevenson disappointed his father. In January Thomas Stevenson discovered some papers that seemed to suggest that the young Stevenson was an atheist. Father and son had their worst falling out. In letters to his student chums, especially to Charles Baxter, Stevenson called himself a "damned curse" on his family. Though it is tempting to see his filial rebellion as a classic Victorian melodrama, father and son did reconcile. The episode is more important in having given the author one of the enduring themes of his fiction.
It runs from "An Old Song," a short story published in an issue of the weekly London, to the masterly romance Weir of Hermiston , left unfinished. It also threads through his nonfiction, in which it is tempered by a tone of reconciliation. For example, in "Crabbed Age and Youth," written in , Stevenson seems to be looking for the common bond that father and son share. In the decade after his university graduation, Stevenson steeped himself in life, finding an essential core of good humor in people and things.
Something of the lightheartedness of this period survives in the humorous essays in Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers , published when the author was thirty-one years old.
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The essays in this collection had been originally published from to in the Cornhill, Macmillan's, and London magazines. The collection received little attention from the critics, but the brilliant whimsy and ironic tone in these pieces were well matched to their loose structures, modeled after Thomas Browne's and William Hazlitt's works, which Stevenson admired. He pretends to analyze marriage in "Virginibus Puerisque" and the relationship between old and young in "Crabbed Age and Youth"; he mounts a pseudophilosophical defense of sloth in "An Apology for Idlers" and humorously advocates the old method of illuminating cities in "A Plea for Gas Lamps.
There is a more serious side to the collection as well: in "Aes Triplex" and "Ordered South" Stevenson deals with his physical frailty and the trips away from Scotland's rugged winters he had taken for his health.
As a boy, Stevenson had been to the Continent several times, and he grew up to love purposeless, rambling tours across Europe. The young author expresses pleasure at having been suspected of being a Prussian spy by the French gendarmes and pride at having endured hunger, cold, and misery on a journey that, from Stevenson's account, sounds like one of the oddest and most aimless ever undertaken. The publication of An Inland Voyage was significant: it was his first full-length book and was reviewed kindly by the critics, though it did not enjoy as many printings as his next travelogue did.
Its more somber, melancholy tone is due to the fact that Stevenson had fallen in love, and the relationship was a difficult one. She had been living in Paris and had come to the sleepy summer colony of Grez to recuperate after the death of her son. By the time she returned to America in , Stevenson had fallen deeply in love with her; he undertook his walking tour through the mountains in France in part as a restorative to his emotional life. In August Stevenson received a cable-gram from Fanny Osbourne, who by that time had rejoined her husband in California.
Details are vague, but there seems to have been some last attempt by Osbourne to break with Stevenson; the contents of the cable were never revealed by either to family or friends. With the impetuosity of one of his own fictional characters, Stevenson set off from Greenock, Scotland, on 7 August for America. On 18 August Stevenson landed, sick, nearly penniless, in New York. From there he took an overland train journey in miserable conditions to California, where he nearly died. After meeting with Fanny Osbourne in Monterey, and no doubt depressed at the uncertainty of her divorce, he went camping in the Santa Lucia mountains, where he lay sick for two nights until two frontiersmen found him and nursed him back to health.
Still unwell, Stevenson moved to Monterey in December and thence to San Francisco, where he fluctuated between life and death, continually fighting off illness. Stevenson characteristically turned the ocean-crossing and transcontinental journey into grist for the literary mill. The former, a short story, was published in the New Quarterly Magazine in In the latter, a travelogue, Stevenson noted the harsher side of life, especially for the immigrant passenger aboard ship sailing for America.
Its grim tone distressed his friends and family.
Certain passages were considered too graphic by the publisher and by Stevenson's father: Thomas Stevenson bought all the copies of the already printed travelogue because he found it beneath his son's talent. Stevenson also produced a travelogue about the train journey, "Across the Plains," which was published as the title piece of his essay collection. The suppressed piece and "Across the Plains" were eventually published together in The Amateur Emigrant from the Clyde to Sandy Hook in , the year after Stevenson's death.
When Stevenson left Scotland so abruptly he temporarily estranged his parents. They were also upset about his relationship with a married woman. However, hearing of their son's dire circumstances, they cabled him enough money to save him from poverty. Fanny Osbourne obtained her divorce from her husband, and she and Stevenson were married on 19 May in San Francisco. For their honeymoon they headed to Mount Saint Helena in Napa Valley, California--partly on the recommendation of friends concerned about Stevenson's frail health and partly because their meager finances afforded them no more than the rundown shack they were able to rent at Silverado, on the side of the mountain.
Stevenson also turned this experience into literature: he wrote The Silverado Squatters in from a journal he kept during the approximately two months they spent at the abandoned mine site.
Robert Louis Stevenson Biography | List of Works, Study Guides & Essays | GradeSaver
It is a pleasant description of their adventures and their domestic life and includes portraits of the people living around Saint Helena and Calistoga in the Napa Valley. The work was first serialized in the Century Magazine in and later that year was published as a book. When both husband and wife were well enough for extended travel, they returned across the continent and set sail from New York, landing in Britain on 17 August Fanny Stevenson was soon accepted at the Stevenson family home on 17 Heriot Row.
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