Official Blog of Author MICHAEL THOMAS BARRY.
A blog which discusses varied topics that are related to the authors many books. Michael is a columnist for CrimeMagazine.com and a reviewer for The New York Journal of Books.
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Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Robert Louis Stevenson died - 1894
Stevenson died on December 3, 1894 in Vailima, Samoa. He was a Scottish novelist
and his most famous works include Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Strange
Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He was born November 13, 1850 in Edinburgh,
Scotland. Throughout his childhood, he suffered chronic health problems that
confined him to bed. In his youth, his strongest influence was that of his
nurse, Allison Cunningham, who often read to him. In 1867, Stevenson entered
Edinburgh University as a science student, where it was understood that he
would follow his father's footsteps and become a civil engineer. However,
Robert was at heart a romantic, and while ostensibly working towards a science
degree, he spent much of his time studying French Literature, Scottish history,
and the works of Darwin and Spencer. When he confided to his father that he did
not want to become an engineer and instead wished to pursue writing, his father
was quite upset. They settled on a compromise, where Robert would study for the
Bar exam and if his literary ambitions failed, he would have a respectable career
as a lawyer to fall back on.
the fall of 1873, Stevenson fell ill, suffering from nervous exhaustion and a
severe chest condition. His doctor ordered him to take an extended period of
rest abroad. For the next six months, he convalesced in the South of France,
and worked on essays. On his return to Edinburgh, he spent much of his time
writing book reviews and articles and experimenting with short stories. Slowly,
he earned a name for himself in journalism and his works began appearing in
distinguished journals such as The Fortnightly Review. While establishing
his name as a writer, Stevenson met an American married woman, Fanny
Vandergrift Osbourne, who was ten years his senior. Osbourne had traveled to
Europe in an attempt to escape her estranged husband's influence. For three
years, Stevenson, who was still in ill health, continued his relationship with
her and eventually followed her to San Francisco, where she divorced her
husband and married Stevenson in May 1880.
Stevenson published An Inland Voyage, which recounts a canoeing holiday
in Belgium. In August 1880, the Stevensons returned to England. He and his wife
wintered in the South of France and lived in England. This period of time was
marked by great literary achievement. Stevenson's first novel, Treasure Island,
was published in 1883, followed by The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde (1886) and Kidnapped (1886). Stevenson's work was highly
popular and he received great critical acclaim. Upon his father's death in
1887, Stevenson chose to leave England and sailed for America, where he stayed
for a year. The following year, accompanied by his wife, stepson, and mother,
he set sail for the South Seas. Stevenson grew so enchanted by the life of the
South Seas that in December 1889 he bought an estate in Apia, Samoa, convinced
that he could never again endure the harsh winters of his native Scotland or
England. Apia was a perfect location because the climate was tropical but not
wild, the people were friendly and hard working, and there was good postal
service in the country. Stevenson lived at his 300-acre estate, Vailima, in the
hills of Apia until his death in 1894. While in Vailima, Stevenson wrote a
great deal, completing two of his finest novellas, "The Beach of Falesa"
and "The Ebb Tide", two novels, The Wrecker and Catriona, the
short stories "The Bottle Imp," "The Isle of voices," and
"The Waif Woman." He also published short works under the title Fables.
He died on the evening of December 3, 1894 after suffering a brain hemorrhage.
Barry is the author of Literary Legends
of the British Isles. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the