Robert Louis Stevenson
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In a society shaped by the profound transformations of the Education Act, Robert Louis Stevenson stands apart from his late-Victorian contemporaries as a strikingly romantic artist, and literary celebrity. He held a very modern attitude to his profession and yet, nevertheless, somehow seemed to sacrifice life to literature. He, of course, disclaimed his commitment, telling an American admirer that he was "a person who prefers life to art, and who knows it is a far finer thing to be in love…" The record of his creativity suggests the opposite, only adding to the aura of enigma that still surrounds him. So Stevenson remains an elfin, paradoxical figure. Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde were instant classics, each a brilliantly concise narrative of quasi-cinematic intensity.
Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson November 13, December 3, , was a Scottish novelist, poet, and travel writer. His father was Thomas Stevenson and grandfather was Robert Stevenson, both successful lighthouse engineers, and his mother was Margaret Balfour. He studied at Edinburgh Academy in his youth. His parents were both very religious. Robert gave up the religion of his parents while studying at the University of Edinburgh, but the teaching that he received as a child continued to influence him. He actually took up a branch of Christianity called Calvinism as his new religion in college.
Born and educated in Edinburgh, Stevenson suffered from serious bronchial trouble for much of his life, but continued to write prolifically and travel widely in defiance of his poor health. Stevenson spent several years in search of a location suited to his health, before finally settling in Samoa , where he died. A celebrity in his lifetime, Stevenson attracted a more negative critical response for much of the 20th century, though his reputation has been largely restored.
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