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Selected Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson (2nd Hand Hardback)

Original price £6.45 - Original price £6.45
Original price
£6.45 - £6.45
Current price £6.45
SKU B002665

Edited by Ernest Mehew.

During his life Robert Louis Stevenson was celebrated as an author in many different fields of literature. His books - most famously "Treasure Island", and "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" - continue to be read throughout the world.

After his death he gained an added reputation as one of our finest letter-writers and in 1994-5, to critical acclaim, Yale University Press published the eight-volume collected edition of letters edited by Ernest Mehew and Bradford A. Booth. Now Ernest Mehew has made selection from a total of nearly 2800 letters to give the flavour of Stevenson's life and character in one volume.

This selection prints, in whole or in part, 317 letters that are representative of each period of Stevenson's mature life. we can follow him through his Edinburgh youth and troubled relationship with his parents, his love for a beautiful, married older woman, trips to the Continent in a search for better health and a reckless journey to North America in pursuit of the woman who would become his wife. Always the spirited adventurer, Stevenson's travels eventually took him to the islands of the South Seas where he settled in Samoa, entering into tropical life and the local political scene (at the time verging on civil war) with characteristic fervour.

Of the many biographies of Stevenson that exist, none tells the story of his life better than Stevenson's own correspondence. The letters show his zest for life (in the face of atrocious ill-health), his literary tastes, struggles with his own writing and, above all, his love for and relations with his friends. Letters to his mentor Sidney Colvin, fellow writers Henry James and J.M. Barrie, and to his acquaintances kept up from student days show the meaning such friendships held for Stevenson.

The correspondence displays his many different sides - at times joking and playful with letters full of world-play, at others emotional and serious.

  • Format : Thick 2nd Hand Hardback with Dust Jacket
  • Condition : Very Good (But with written gift inscription)
  • Category : Non-Fiction - Autobiography & Biography
  • Published : 1997 (Yale University Press)
  • ISBN : 9780300073768
  • SKU : B002665
  • PPC : SP900gm
  • RRP : Unknown
  • Quantity Available : 1 only.
External Reviews

"Stevenson's letters are an addictive read just like his many stories and essays. His letters show a companionable and often humorous character despite his many health problems and the difficulties of making a living as a writer. It seems all the more sad to consider his demise (from a brain haemorrhage) at the age of 46. Many of the letters are to his closest friends and those who influenced him most, as well as to notable figures such as Henry James and W.B. Yeats. The letters cover the background to the creation of most of his major and lesser known works such as Jekyll and Hyde, Kidnapped and Catriona. Also included, amongst many other things, is Stevenson's infamous bust-up with the poet W.E. Henley, and his involvement in the local politics of the south sea island of Samoa (his home at the end of his life). Definitely worth five stars."

"The prose is full of happy surprises. The anecdotes and observations rarely disappoint." - Google Reviews.

"The most enthralling, and most reliable, account of Stevenson's life that has ever been available in a single volume. The letters are intensely alive, rich and comical . . . Whichever of Stevenson's books readers like best, they will find something absorbing about it here. Mehew has made his selection adroitly, as well as with formidable expertise." - Jeremy Treglown, Los Angeles Times Book Review.

"The book is quite splendid and a marvellous read." - The Expository Times.

The Author

Robert Lewis (later: “Louis”) Balfour Stevenson was born in Edinburgh on 13 November 1850. His father Thomas belonged to a family of engineers who had built many of the deep-sea lighthouses around the rocky coast of Scotland. His mother, Margaret Isabella Balfour, came from a family of lawyers and church ministers. In 1857 the family moved to 17 Heriot Row, a solid, respectable house in Edinburgh’s New Town.

At the age of seventeen he enrolled at Edinburgh University to study engineering, with the aim - his father hoped - of following him in the family firm. However, he abandoned this course of studies and made the compromise of studying law. He “passed advocate” in 1875 but did not practice since by now he knew he wanted to be a writer. In the university’s summer vacations he went to France to be in the company of other young artists, both writers and painters. His first published work was an essay called “Roads”, and his first published volumes were works of travel writing.

Featured Author . . . Robert Louis Stevenson