Robert Louis Stevenson was a diverse Scottish writer who authored a number of books, essays, poems, and children’s books. He is best known for such action books such as Treasure Island and Kidnapped.
Early life and education
Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was born November 13, 1850, in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of a prominent lighthouse engineer. As a child, Stevenson had tuberculosis and weakened lungs as a result.
When he was 17, he began college to study engineering, like his father. However, he soon determined that engineering was not something he was interested in. His father took him on a sea voyage, presumably to help him become interested in lighthouses. However, the voyage inspired him to want to write adventures about the coast and islands and instead decided to pursue a career in literature. His father eventually allowed this, but made him get a law degree too. He passed the bar exam at the age of 25.
After college, he began to travel abroad to find a climate that would agree better with his condition. He wrote about his travels in some of his earlier writings, including An Inland Voyage in 1878 and Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes in 1879.
In 1876, Stevenson met his wife in France. However, she was married at the time. She returned to California a few months later, and he followed her. In 1879 he traveled from New York to California, where he met up with and married his wife Frances Obsourne, who was divorced by this time. He spent the last five years of his life in Samoa, before dying in Samoa in December of 1894.
Stevenson was a diverse author and wrote a wide range of things, from poems to children’s books to novels. He is perhaps most famous for his adventure novels and stories, many of which include shipwrecks, stolen inheritances, and other such excitement. In 1883 Treasure Island was published, about a young boy who travels with pirates in search of buried treasure. In 1886, both The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Kidnapped were published, then The Black Arrow in 1888 and the Master of the Ballantrae in 1889. These were his most famous adventure stories.
He also wrote essays and criticisms, which were also very well-received. These include Virginibus Puerisque (1881), Familiar Studies of Men and Books (1882), and Memories and Portraits (1887). In addition to this, he wrote a number of travel pieces based on his own adventures and travels. These include The Silverado Squatters (1883), which recounts his visit to a mining camp in California, as well as Across the Plains (1892) and In the South Seas (1896).
In addition to this, he also wrote poetry for children. A Child’s Garden of Verses (1885) is perhaps his most famous, even today. Other poetry collections include Underwoods (1887) and Ballads (1890). He also wrote a number of short stories that were published in his books The New Arabian Nights (1882) and Island Nights’ Entertainments (1893).
Stevenson’s stepson, Lloyd Osbourne, was also a writer. Together, the two collaborated and wrote the novels The Wrong Box (1891) and The Wrecker (1892).
Robert Louis Stevenson was a gifted writer who authored a wide range of books, poems, and literary works that are still enjoyed today.