Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson
(born November 1850 – died December 1894) – Edinburgh
One of Edinburgh’s most famous literary sons, Robert Lewis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh in 1854. He was a poorly child, and ill-health plagued him throughout his life. Stevenson came from a line of famous engineers – both his father and grandfather were successful lighthouse engineers [c.f. Belle Bathurst's The Lighthouse Stevensons].
At eighteen, he shortened his name, and changed the spelling of Lewis. Stevenson studied engineering at university, but switched to law. Then, at twenty-one, he declared his intention to become a writer. Both his father Thomas and his Nanny Alison Cunningham ['Cummy'] read to him frequently, particularly religious stories from the Bible and from the Covenanters. His knowledge of Scottish history influenced novels such as Kidnapped (chosen by Edinburgh City of Literature as their first One City, One Book title) and The Master of Ballantrae. RLS married American divorcee Fanny Osbourne (a controversial choice) in 1880.
Believing the the healing powers of a better climate than that of Scotland, Stevenson and his family travelled widely, living in Switzerland, France and Hawaii. It was during his time that he had some of his biggest successes. Treasure Island is an exciting tale of adventure, piracy and travel (themes he would return to often), while The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a haunting psychological tale. He also wrote travel books, such as Travels with a donkey in the Cévennes and In the South Seas.
Stevenson finally settled in Samoa in 1892, where the local tribe named him Tusitala – 'storyteller' - but died in 1884 of a brain haemorrhage.
- Add to BasketThe Black Arrow: A Tale Of The Two Roses - Paperback
Set in England during the Wars of the Roses, this novel tells the story of Dick Shelton, a young man who is betrayed by his treacherous and brutal guardian, and is forced to seek the help of John Amend-All, his guardian's sworn enemy.
- Add to BasketCatriona - Paperback
Written in 1893, 'Catriona' is the sequel to the Highland adventure 'Kidnapped' and follows the further adventures of its hero, David Balfour.
- Add to BasketA Child's Garden Of Verses - Paperback
Moving from make-believe worlds to curiosity and descriptions of simple pleasures, these poems capture a child's wonder, imagination and fascination with everyday things.
- Add to BasketIn The South Seas - Paperback
Originally written as a series of sketches for an American magazine, this is Stevenson's record of the first year he and his family spent travelling around the Marquesas, the Paumotus and the Gilbers.
- Add to BasketKidnapped - Paperback
'Kidnapped' is an adventure story in which the tensions run deep, not only between pursuer and the pursued, but in ancient misunderstandings between the two heroes: Whig and Jacobite; Lowland rationalist and romantic Highlander. This edition has a foreword by well-known Scottish novelist Alasdair Gray.
- Add to BasketThe Master Of Ballantrae: A Winter's Tale - Paperback
The Master of Ballantrae opens in the old Scottish house of Durisdeer. Its adventure draws in sea voyages, piracy, buried treasure and centres on the fatal rivalry between two brothers and the kinswoman who loves one brother but marries the other.
Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Kidnapped' is here retold as a graphic novel. It is the story of 17-year-old David Balfour who sets out to find his uncle, never dreaming that he will narrowly escape being murdered or that he will be kidnapped and end up in the company of the fugitive Alan Breck.
- Add to BasketSouth Sea Tales - Paperback
The literary world was shocked when in 1889, Robert Louis Stevenson announced his intention to settle in Samoa. His readers were equally shocked when he used his new environment to produce critical treatments of imperialism. This volume presents a selection of his Pacific fiction.
- Add to BasketThe Story Of A Lie - Paperback
Presented here alongside Stevenson's celebrated short story 'The Body Snatcher', 'The Story of a Lie' is a prime work of Victorian gothic, albeit with a surprising and uncharacteristic comic slant.
- Add to BasketThe Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde - Paperback
This dark psychological fantasy is more than a moral tale. It is also a product of its time, drawing on contemporary theories of class, evolution and criminality and the secret lives behind Victorian propriety, to create a unique form of urban Gothic.
- Add to BasketTravels With A Donkey In The Cévennes - Paperback
In 1878, Robert Louis Stevenson was suffering from poor health, struggling to survive on the income derived from his writings, and tormented by his infatuation with Fanny Osbourne, a married American woman. His response was to embark on journeys through Cévennes and America where he wrote 'Travels With a Donkey' and 'The Amateur Emigrant'.
- Add to BasketTreasure Island - Paperback
Jim Hawkins gets hold of a treasure map and sets off with an adult crew in search of the buried treasure. Among the crew, however, is the treacherous Long John Silver who is determined to keep the treasure for himself.
- An Inland Voyage - 1878
- Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes - 1878
- Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes - 1879
- Viginibus Puerisque and other Papers - 1881
- Familiar Studies of Men and Books - 1882
- New Arabian Nights - 1882
- Treasure Island - 1883
- The Silverado Squatters - 1884
- A Child's Garden of Verses - 1885
- More New Arabian Nights: The Dynamiter (with Fanny Van de Grift Stevenson) - 1885
- Prince Otto - 1885
- The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - 1886
- Kidnapped - 1886
- The Merry Men and Other Tales and Fables - 1887
- Memories and Portraits - 1887
- Underwoods - 1887
- The Black Arrow: A Tale of Two Roses - 1888
- The Master of Ballantrae: A Winter's Tale - 1889
- The Wrong Box (with Lloyd Osbourne) - 1889
- Ballads - 1890
- Father Damien: An Open Letter to the Reverend Doctor Hyde of Honolulu from Robert Louis Stevenson - 1890
- A Footnote to History: Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa - 1892
- Three Plays by W.E. Henley and R.L. Stevenson (with W.E. Henley) - 1892
- The Wrecker - (with Lloyd Osbourne) 1892
- Across the Plains With Other Memories and Essays - 1892
- Island Nights' Entertainments - 1893
- Catriona (Published in the USA as David Balfour) - 1893
- The Ebb-Tide (with Lloyd Osbourne) - 1894
- The Amateur Emigrant (Ready for publication, but withdrawn, in 1880) - 1895
- Songs of Travel and other Verses - 1895
- 'Fables' - 1896
- Weir of Hermiston: An Unfinished Romance - 1896
- In the South Seas - 1896
- St. Ives: Being The Adventures of a French Prisoner in England - 1898
- Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson to His Family and Friends (ed. S. Colvin) - 1899
Biographies of RLS
- Add to BasketRobert Louis Stevenson: The Travelling Mind - - Paperback
This is a concise and insightful account of the life of Robert Louis Stevenson, one of Scotland's best-loved writers, from his childhood in Edinburgh to his final years in the South Seas.
- Add to BasketStevenson's Scotland - - Paperback
Although Robert Louis Stevenson travelled the world from Silverado to Samoa, Scotland remained his home and he wrote extensively about it. This anthology includes the best of these writings.
More on BooksfromScotland.com
- The Robert Louis Stevenson Website
- Britannica Online: Robert Louis Stevenson
- Wikipedia entry for Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson
- Informative biography
- Pegasos biography from Finland
- BBC Writing Scotland
- National Library of Scotland
- National Portrait Gallery
- Comprehensive site from Italy
- University of South Carolina Stevenson exhibition
- The Stevenson House
- Andrew O'Hagan for the London Review of Books on RLS
- The Silverado Museum, St. Helena