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Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894)

Stevenson, Robert Louis

Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh, on November 13, 1850. He studied engineering at Edinburgh University, spending his summers in France, but eventually abandoned it in favor of law. However, he never practiced, having decided that he would be a writer.

His first published work was an essay called "Roads" and his first books were collections of travel writings, such as An Inland Voyage. He then met his future wife Fanny, an older American woman, and traveled to California, which he described in several autobiographical works.

He began writing fiction with short stories, such as A Lodging for the Night and The Pavilion of the Links and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Treasure Island was his first novel, published in 1883, which made him successful. He wrote other novels in the same style, such as Kidnapped and Catriona, as well as historical romances and stories set in the South Seas.

Stevenson used a variety of genres in his works, and influenced generations of readers, although he has been condemned by critics as a "popular" writer. He died in December of 1894 and was buried in Samoa.

Famous quotations by Robert Louis Stevenson:

  • The body is a house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passers-by to come and love us.

  • There was a time when a fool and his money were soon parted, but now it happens to everybody.

  • For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.

  • The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal--that you can gather votes like box tops--is, I think, the ultimate indignity to the democratic process.

  • Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them.

  • Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things.

  • Vanity dies hard; in some obstinate cases it outlives the man.

  • A beauty is a woman you notice; a charmer is one who notices you.

  • Suggested sites for Robert Louis Stevenson:

    Encyclopedia article about Robert Louis Stevenson
    Texts by Stevenson
    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
    The story of a doctor who seeks to capture and control the duality of man (good and bad), but uses himself in the experiments and changes his life forever.
    David Balfour, an orphan, is kidnapped by his uncle, but escapes, meets Alan Breck, a Scottish, and becomes involved in the struggle of Alan's people against English rule.
    Tales and Fantasies
    A collection of short stories.
    Treasure Island
    Jim Hawkins discovers a treasure map in Captain Flint's chest, and the Captain comes to the Admiral Benbow Inn.

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