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Writer Robert Stephenson: biography, works

Robert Stevenson is one of the most famous writers, who is often considered the author of one book - the novel "Treasure Island", a romantic and youthful work. Despite this, Stevenson was an ambiguous person, and his most famous novel is actually deeper than it may seem.

The influence of national culture on the future writer

A Scotsman by birth, a Scotsman in education and a Scotsman by national spirit are the characteristics that very accurately describe a person like Robert Lewis Stevenson. The biography of the writer confirms that the Scottish culture and history had a huge impact on the formation of Stevenson as a person. The future writer was born in Edinburgh, the cultural and political capital of Scotland.

The ancestors of the father of the author were farmers, millers, gardeners, and his grandfather was a famous engineer who was engaged in the construction of bridges, lighthouses and breakwaters. The case of Stevenson's grandfather was continued by his father and brothers.

On the line of the mother, the future writer belonged to the old and famous Balfour family, which resembled the noble clans of the borderland and plain of Scotland.

The history of the family, its pedigree, its deep roots are those things that Robert Stephenson was interested in. Biography indicates that, wherever he was, he always remained a true Scot. Even in Polynesia, where the temperature never dropped below 40 degrees, in his house he built a typical Scottish fireplace.

Childhood and youth

Robert Lewis Stevenson was the only child in the family. Being small, he suffered a serious illness, which subsequently influenced him until the end of the day. Louis often fevered, he constantly coughed, he did not have enough air. All common biographies indicate pulmonary tuberculosis or very severe bronchial problems. Soreness, pallor, weakness and leanness are the things that Robert Stevenson suffered all his life. Photos of the author clearly confirm this.

The author remembers his childhood and youth as endless periods of heat, pain and insomnia. The boy was sent to school at the age of six, but due to his condition, studies were not successful. Lewis succeeded several schools, personal teachers, for some time he studied at the prestigious school for the children of well-known and wealthy parents - the Edinburgh Academy. Obeying his father, he decides to continue the family business and enters the University of Edinburgh, where he studies engineering, in particular, the construction of lighthouses.

Interest in literature

Engineering and construction of lighthouses are things that Robert Lewis Stevenson was really interested in. Biography indicates that he willingly engaged in the practical part of the study, which was carried out on construction sites. The program also included lowering in a spacesuit to the seabed, where you could study the underwater terrain and rocks that served as the basis for the construction of the lighthouse.

After a while, Lewis applied to participate in the competition at the Royal Scottish Society of Sciences, where he presented his poem "A New Kind of Flashing Light for Lighthouses", for which he received a silver medal. Already in two weeks in a serious conversation with his father, Stevenson says that he wants to give up engineering. Father was against literature, so it was decided that his son would become a lawyer. This option suited Luis. Firstly, the practice of the bar gave him more free time, and secondly, the famous compatriot of Stevenson, Walter Scott, was also a lawyer, which did not prevent him later from becoming a famous writer. Lewis passed all the exams and received the title of lawyer, but this was only confirmation that he was actually a writer.

The beginning of literary activity

For the first time, writer Robert Stephenson claimed about himself at the age of sixteen. On the money of his father was issued a small book "The Pentland uprising. History page, 1666 ». Here the young author described the two-hundred-year peasant uprisings in Scotland. This work was not known, but already here the author's interest in national history was seen, as well as the desire to be objective and precise.

The first serious work was the novel by Robert Stevenson "Roads." The name is very symbolic, because, despite the fact that Stevenson was painful and weak, his vital necessities and his spiritual impulses made him travel a lot.

First travels

In 1876, Stevenson and his friends traveled by canoe along the rivers and canals of France and Belgium. The final destination was Paris, but friends also stayed in riverine villages rich in history. This trip had a huge impact on Stevenson. Returning home, he immediately began work on describing his journey, which later turned into a work "Journey into the interior of the country", and also influenced his subsequent work.

The author describes the travel process itself, various amusing and ridiculous situations that happened during the trip, describes people, their characters and customs. At the same time, he does this easily and unobtrusively, allowing the reader to make up his own opinion about everything. It was during this trip that Robert Stephenson met Fanny Osborne, who later became Fanny Stevenson.


With Frances Matilda, Osborne Lewis met in one of the French villages at a time when she was fond of painting. Almost all biographers claim that this meeting was love at first sight. Fanny was ten years older than Lewis, married to a loser, had two children and sought solitude after the death of her youngest child. They talked a lot, spent time together, and after the parting they constantly corresponded.

A few years later, in 1879, Robert Stevenson received a letter from Fanny, whose content remained unknown to the story. Presumably she was talking about her serious illness. The condition of Lewis at that time was complicated: a protracted illness, financial problems, a quarrel with his father, words of friends who said that Fanny was a married woman. All this did not stop Lewis. He quickly assembled and recovered to America, where at that time Fanny lived. The journey was long and difficult.

After arriving in America, he drove a long immigrant train from New York to San Francisco. However, Fanny was not there, she moved to Monterrey. Lewis went on another trip. He rode alone on horseback. On the way, his condition deteriorated very much, and he lost consciousness. Found his local bears hunter, who nursed Lewis, who lives on the brink of life and death for several days. Having gained strength, Stevenson still got to Fanny.

Despite all the obstacles, in 1880 Stevenson married Fanny Osborn and returned home with his wife, her children and a huge baggage of knowledge, impressions and life experience. Fanny and her children accompanied Stevenson on his travels and were with him until his last days.

Type of traveler in the works of Stevenson

Travels played a huge role in the creativity of the author. This topic was not new in literature, but other writers saw the traveler-hero differently than Robert Stevenson had seen. The author's works describe a traveler who behaves illogically and indiscretionally. Such a traveler was most often an artist or a writer. He does not seek any benefit, refuses rewards or additional privileges.

Travel essays Stevenson began traditionally. The journey was portrayed as a small and simple walk, during which all the idiocy of a man in the street is revealed. Later, this idea was used in his work by other well-known writers, including K. Jerome.

The experience gained in the first and subsequent travels influenced the literary activity of the author, including his most famous work - the novel "Treasure Island".

"Treasure Island"

"Treasure Island" is undoubtedly the most famous novel by Robert Lewis Stevenson. Another unfinished work was published in a well-known children's magazine under a pseudonym, but it did not bring popularity. Moreover, the editorial staff often received negative and even outraged responses. A separate book and with the real name of the author, the novel was published a year later. This time the novel was undoubtedly successful.

Despite the fact that the novel has a fairly simple plot and plot, like any novel of adventure, it contains moments of tension. The author creates a general picture not by a detailed description of everyday situations, but by the very form of the narrative. Stephenson actively uses dialogues, which gives the story a more active and dramatic look.

Despite the fact that the novel is considered youthful and romantic, it is based on serious problems and themes. In particular, we are talking about the problem of the contrast of characters, emotional experiences and the opposition of good and evil.

"Cursed Janet"

His interest in the soul and the essence of man Robert Lewis Stephenson embodies in the work "The Damned Janet." In this story, the author decided to combine the real and the fantastic, and also turn to what was always dear to him - the Scottish traditions and motives. Despite the fact that the work is relatively small, the author managed to show the human soul, its fears and emotions very deeply.

Thanks to a special form of narration, the author managed to make so that everything real in the story seems fantastic, and all the fantastic is real. At the same time the story itself is completely logical and believable. The problem of emotional experiences has become so interesting to the author, he continues to disclose it further, in particular in the well-known novel The Strange History of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

"The strange story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"

The impetus for writing the story was Stevenson's acquaintance with Dostoevsky's novel Crime and Punishment, where the problems of human morality and morality were re-imagined. The hero of the story - clever, respectful, respectable doctor Jekyll - due to a failed experiment, splits his personality and releases his ugly and evil twin Mr. Hyde.

Stevenson raises the problem of the purpose of life, the problem of freedom, choice, inner concentration and ease. The story was written in a form that was not expected from Stevenson, and caused general enthusiasm.

The novel "The Master of Ballantra"

This work of Lewis is considered one of the darkest, but it is in it that Stevenson reached the peak of his skill. It was in this novel that he combined the two most important themes of his work: the opposition of good and evil and an appeal to Scottish traditions and history. In the novel, he describes two brothers, whose characters vividly embody these problems. The author tried to find the roots of these problems deeply, beginning from the national character and ending with puritanism in the country.

Robert Stephenson is a unique author who, due to his popularity, owes not only his works, but also his biography. Readers are attracted by the integrity of his character, the courage and drama of fate.

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