Robert Lewis Stevenson


Robert Louis (Balfour) Stevenson (18501894), was a Scottishnovelist, poet, and travel writer, and a leading representative of Neo-romanticism in English literature.

He prepared for a law career but never practiced. He travelled frequently, partly in search of better climates for his weak lungs (possibly due to tuberculosis), which would eventually contribute to his death at age 44.

Stevenson devoted himself to writing travel sketches, essays, and short stories for magazines. An account of his canoe tour of France and Belgium was published in 1878 as An Inland Voyage, and Travels With A Donkey In The Cervennes appeared next year. In 1879 Stevenson moved to California with Fanny Osbourne, whom he had met in France. They married in 1880, and after a brief stay at Calistoga, which was recorded in The Silverado Squatters (1883), they returned to Scotland, and then moved often in search of better climates.

Stevenson became famous with the romantic adventure story Treasure Island, which appeared in 1883. Among his other popular works are Kidnapped(1886), The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1886) and The Master Of Ballantrae (1889).

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From LibriVox and Hillduffer:

1.  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde -  First published in 1886. London lawyer Utterson is driven to investigate Edward Hyde, the unlikely protégé of his friend Dr Henry Jekyll, suspecting the relationship to be founded on blackmail. The truth is worse than he could have imagined.
2a.  Treasure Island - A thrilling tale of “buccaneers and buried gold.” Traditionally considered a coming of age story, it is an adventure tale of superb atmosphere, character and action, and also a wry commentary on the ambiguity of morality.

2c. Treasure Island (3rd Version)
3.  Kidnapped - David Balfour, a lad of seventeen and newly orphaned, is directed to go and live with his rich uncle, the master of the estate of Shaws in the lowlands of Scotland near Edinburgh. His uncle, Ebenezer, is shocked to suddenly have his young relative descend on him and tries to rid himself of David with an arranged accident. 
4.  Black Arrow - Tale of Two Roses - The story of Richard (Dick) Shelton during the Wars of the Roses: how he becomes a knight, rescues his lady Joanna Sedley, and obtains justice for the murder of his father, Sir Harry Shelton. Outlaws in Tunstall Forest organized by Ellis Duckworth, whose weapon and calling card is a black arrow, cause Dick to suspect that his guardian Sir Daniel Brackley and his retainers are responsible for his father’s murder. 
5.  The Wrong Box - A comedy about the ending of a tontine (a tontine is an arrangement whereby a number of young people subscribe to a fund which is then closed and invested until all but one of the subscribers have died. That last subscriber then receives the whole of the proceeds). The story involves the last two such survivors and their relations, a train crash, missing uncles, surplus dead bodies and innocent bystanders. A farce really. 
6.  Markheim   (5th story in Short Story Collection 001)
7.  The Bottle Imp  (3rd story in Short Story Collection 015)
8.  Olalla - Olalla was a “shilling shocker” written for the Christmas season in 1885, just before the publication of Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
9.  Essays of Robert Louis Stevenson - In this collection of nine pieces he discusses the art of appreciating unattractive scenery, traces the complex social life of dogs, and meditates in several essays upon the experience of reading literature and writing it. Perhaps his most personal passages concern death and mortality. Here we meet him at his most undogmatically optimistic, as he affirms a wholesome faith in “the liveableness of Life”.
10The Adventure of Prince Florizel and a Detective - One of the stories from Stevenson’s New Arabian Nights

11Truth of Intercourse  (Last story in Non-Fiction Short Story Collection 15)
12The Pavilion on the Links - 14th, 15th and 16th story in Worlds Best Mystery and Detective Stories # 02
13Treasure Island  (27 minute original short story that Stevenson later re-wrote as his famous novel.  Go to 22nd story in My First Book))

14.  More New Arabian Nights: The Dynamite - Novel published in 1885 is a collection of linked short stories by Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny Vandegrift. Three gentlemen of little means and no occupation meet in the Bohemian Cigar Divan, a tobacco shop with couches to sit and smoke. They read of a reward offered for information as to the whereabouts of a man with big moustaches and a sealskin coat. They agree among themselves that they will separate and search for the man so as to claim the reward. 

15.  The Ebb Tide - Three men down on their luck in Tahiti agree to ship out on a vessel whose officers have died of smallpox. Their desperate venture inspires them to a further idea: they will steal the schooner and its cargo of champagne, sell them, and live a plentiful life.

16.  New Arabian Nights -This is a collection of short stories which include Robert Louis Stevenson's earliest fiction as well as those considered his best work in the genre. 

17. Travels With a Donkey - Travels With a Donkey is regarded as a classic of travel writing and an early inspiration for the idea of long-distance walking for pleasure - many a modern traveler follows the Stevenson Trail, now part of France's national network of long-distance walking routes.  Stevenson's account of his extended walk, in 1878, through uplands and mountains in south-western France amply fulfils this declaration of intent “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilization, and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints.”

18. A Lodging For The Night by Robert Louis Stevenson (12th story in Short Story # 55)

19. An Inland Voyage - As a young man, Stevenson wished to be financially independent and began his literary career by writing travelogues. This is his first published work, written at a time when travel for pleasure was still a rarity. He and a friend traveled by canoe through France and Belgium and he relates how they were thrown in jail, mistaken for traveling salesmen and became embroiled in gypsy life.

20. The Wrecker - The Wrecker (1892) is a novel written by Robert Louis Stevenson in collaboration with his stepson Lloyd Osbourne. The story is a 'sprawling, episodic adventure story, a comedy of brash manners and something of a detective mystery'. It revolves around the abandoned wreck of the Flying Scud at Midway Island. Clues in a stamp collection are used to track down the missing crew and solve the mystery. It is only in the last chapter that different story elements become linked.

21. The Cruise Of The Coracle by Robert Louis Stevenson (28th story from Sea Stories)

22a. The Sire De Maletroit's Door by Robert Louis Stevenson Part 1 (17th story from International Short Stories # 2)

22b. The Sire De Maletroit's Door by Robert Louis Stevenson Part 2 (18th story from International Short Stories # 2)

23A Child's Garden of Verses - This collection first appeared in 1885 under the title Penny Whistles, but has been reprinted many times, often in illustrated versions. This Audio contains about 13 poems.

24.  Master of Ballantrae - Heir to a noble Scottish house in the mid 18th century, the Master is a charming, clever, and resourceful villain whose daring but ill-advised schemes first alienate his patrimony and at last cost him his life. His younger brother, sweet-tempered and good but dull and unpopular, suffers at the Master's hands until his patience and courage win him limited ascendancy, but he is at last consumed with hatred and driven to madness and death by the strain of his many sufferings. The story is told from the point of view of a loyal servant with the occasional insertion of documents in the words of other eye-witnesses. The episodic plot, although exciting, serves mainly as a structure on which to hang superb character studies. The Master, whom one both admires and hates, bears comparison with Long John Silver, not to mention Milton's Satan, to whom the narrator explicitly likens him. The secondary characters—narrator, father, and wife—are deftly characterized, and (with the exception of the two children) even the minor characters are vivid and memorable.

25. Island Nights Entertainment - A marvelous depiction of two sides of South Sea Islands' life through three separate tales. One, the experience of the incoming British keen to live free and exploit the innocent; the other the supernatural as perceived by Stevenson working in the lives of the natives. One tale carries the germ of the story of Madame Butterfly, since become a part of Western culture. Another is an extraordinary retelling of a German horror story transposed to a South Sea Island setting. 


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 Treasure Island dramatization   from Orson Welles' "Mercury Theature on the Air"