Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson
(13 November 1850 –
3 December 1894) was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist and
. Stevenson was greatly
admired by many authors, including Jorge Luis Borges
, Ernest Hemingway
, Rudyard Kipling
, Marcel Schwob
, Vladimir Nabokov
, J. M. Barrie
, and G.
, who said of him that he "seemed
to pick the right word up on the point of his pen, like a man
was born Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson at 8 Howard Place, Edinburgh, Scotland, on 13 November 1850, to Thomas Stevenson (1818–1887), a leading
lighthouse engineer, and his wife Margaret, born Margaret Isabella
Lighthouse design was the family
profession: Thomas's own father was the famous Robert Stevenson
, and his
maternal grandfather, Thomas
, and brothers Alan
were also among those in the
business. On Margaret's side, the family were gentry,
tracing their name back to an Alexander Balfour, who held the lands
of Inchrye in Fife in the
fifteenth century. Her father, Lewis Balfour (1777–1860), was a
minister of the Church of
Scotland at nearby Colinton, and
Stevenson spent the greater part of his boyhood holidays in his
"Now I often wonder", says Stevenson, "what I
inherited from this old minister. I must suppose, indeed, that he
was fond of preaching sermons
, and so am I,
though I never heard it maintained that either of us loved to hear
Robert Louis Stevenson at the age of
Both Balfour and his daughter had a "weak chest" and often needed
to stay in warmer climates for their health. Stevenson inherited a
tendency to coughs and fevers, exacerbated when the family moved to
a damp and chilly house at 1 Inverleith Terrace in 1853. The family
moved again to the sunnier 17 Heriot Row when Stevenson was six,
but the tendency to extreme sickness in winter remained with him
until he was eleven. Illness would be a recurrent feature of his
adult life, and left him extraordinarily thin. Contemporary views
were that he had tuberculosis
, but more
recent views are that it was bronchiectasis
or even sarcoidosis
Stevenson's parents were both devout and serious Presbyterians
, but the household was not
incredibly strict. His nurse, Alison Cunningham (known as Cummy),
was more fervently religious. Her Calvinism
and folk beliefs were an early source of
nightmares for the child; and he showed a precocious concern for
religion. But she also cared for him tenderly in illness, reading
to him from Bunyan and the Bible as he lay sick in bed, and telling
tales of the Covenanters
recalled this time of sickness in the poem "The Land of
Counterpane" in A Child's
Garden of Verses
(1885) and dedicated the book to his
An only child, strange-looking and eccentric, Stevenson found it
hard to fit in when he was sent to a nearby school at six, a
pattern repeated at eleven, when he went on to the Edinburgh Academy
; but he mixed well in
lively games with his cousins in summer holidays at the Colinton
manse. In any case, his frequent illnesses often kept him away from
his first school, and he was taught for long stretches by private
tutors. He was a late reader, first learning at seven or eight; but
even before this he dictated stories to his mother and nurse.
Throughout his childhood he was compulsively writing stories. His
father was proud of this interest: he had himself written stories
in his spare time until his own father found them and told him to
"give up such nonsense and mind your business". He paid for the
printing of Robert's first publication at sixteen, an account of
the covenanters' rebellion, published on its two hundredth
anniversary, The Pentland Rising: a Page of History, 1666
It was expected that Stevenson's writing would remain a sideline;
and in November 1867 he entered the University of Edinburgh
engineering. He showed from the start no enthusiasm for his studies
and devoted much energy to avoiding lectures. This time was more
important for the friendships he made: with other students in the
exclusive debating club), particularly with Charles Baxter, who
would become Stevenson's financial agent; and with one professor,
, whose house staged
amateur drama in which Stevenson took part, and whose biography he
would later write. Perhaps most important at this point in his life
was a cousin, Robert Alan Mowbray Stevenson (known as "Bob"), a
lively and light-hearted young man, who instead of the family
profession had chosen to study art. Each year during vacations, Stevenson
travelled to inspect the family's engineering works – to Anstruther and Wick in 1868,
with his father on his official tour of Orkney and Shetland islands
lighthouses in 1869, for three weeks to the island of Earraid in
He enjoyed the travels, but more for the material they
gave for his writing than for any engineering interest: the voyage
with his father pleased him because a similar journey of Walter Scott
with Robert Stevenson had provided
the inspiration for The
. In April 1871, he announced to his father his
decision to pursue a life of letters. Though the elder Stevenson
was naturally disappointed, the surprise cannot have been great,
and Stevenson's mother reported that he was "wonderfully resigned"
to his son's choice. To provide some security, it was agreed that
Stevenson should read Law (again at Edinburgh University) and be
called to the Scottish bar. Years later, in his poetry collection
(1887), he looked back on how he turned away
from the family profession:
Say not of me that weakly I declined
The labours of my sires, and fled the sea,
The towers we founded and the lamps we lit,
But rather say: In the afternoon of time
A strenuous family dusted from its hands
The sand of granite, and beholding far
Along the sounding coast its pyramids
And tall memorials catch the dying sun,
Smiled well content, and to this childish task
Around the fire addressed its evening hours.
In other respects too, Stevenson was moving away from his
upbringing. His dress became more Bohemian
: he already wore his hair long, but he
now took to wearing a velveteen jacket and rarely attended parties
in conventional evening dress. Within the limits of a strict
allowance, he visited cheap pubs and brothels. More importantly, he
had come to reject Christianity. In January 1873, his father came
across the constitution of the LJR (Liberty, Justice, Reverence)
club of which Stevenson with his cousin Bob was a member, which
began "Disregard everything our parents have taught us".
Questioning his son about his beliefs, he discovered the truth,
leading to a long period of dissension with both parents:
What a damned curse I am to my parents! as my
father said "You have rendered my whole life a failure". As my
mother said "This is the heaviest affliction that has ever befallen
me". O Lord, what a pleasant thing it is to have damned the
happiness of (probably) the only two people who care a damn about
you in the world.
Early writing and travels
The author, c.
In late 1873, on a visit to a cousin in England, Stevenson made two
new friendships that were to be of great importance to him,
and Fanny (Frances Jane)
Sitwell. Sitwell was a woman of thirty four, with a young son,
separated from her husband. She attracted the devotion of many who
met her, including Colvin, who eventually married her in 1901.
Stevenson was another of those drawn to her, and over several years
they kept up a heated correspondence, in which Stevenson wavered
between the role of a suitor and a son (he came to address her as
"Madonna"). Colvin became Stevenson's literary adviser, and after
his death was the first editor of his letters. Soon after their
first meeting he had placed Stevenson's first paid contribution, an
essay, "Roads", in The Portfolio
. Stevenson was soon
active in London literary life, becoming acquainted with many of
the writers of the time, including Andrew
, Edmund Gosse
, and Leslie Stephen
, the editor of the
took an interest in Stevenson's work. Stephen in turn would
introduce him to a more important friend: visiting Edinburgh in
1875, he took Stevenson with him to visit a patient at the Edinburgh
Henley, an energetic and talkative man with a
wooden leg, became a close friend and occasional literary
collaborator for many years, until in 1888 a quarrel broke up the
friendship. He is often seen as providing a partial model for the
character of Long John Silver in Treasure Island
November 1873, Stevenson had a physical collapse and was sent for
his health to Menton on the
He returned in better health in April 1874,
and settled down to his studies, but he would often return to
France in the coming years. He made long and frequent trips to the
neighbourhood of the Forest of Fontainebleau, staying at Barbizon,
Grez-sur-Loing and Nemours, becoming a
member of the artists' colonies there, as well as to Paris to visit
galleries and the theatres.
He did qualify for the Scottish
bar in July 1875; and his father added a brass plate with "R. L.
Stevenson, Advocate" to the Heriot Row house. But although his law
studies would influence his books, he never practised law. All his
energies were now in travel and writing. One of his journeys, a
canoe voyage in Belgium and France with Sir Walter Simpson, a
friend from the Speculative Society and frequent travel companion,
was the basis of his first real book, An Inland Voyage
Fanny Vandergrift Osbourne, c.
The canoe voyage with Simpson brought Stevenson to Grez in
September 1876; and here he first met Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne
(1840-1914). Born in Indianapolis, she had married at the age of seventeen and soon
moved with her husband, Samuel Osbourne, to California.
had three children by the marriage, Isobel, the eldest, Lloyd
and Hervey (who died in 1875); but
anger over infidelities by her husband led to a number of
separations and in 1875 she had taken her children to France, where
she and Isobel studied art. Although Stevenson returned to Britain
shortly after this first meeting, Fanny apparently remained in his
thoughts, and he wrote an essay "On falling in love" for the
. They met again early in 1877 and became
lovers. Stevenson spent much of the following years with her and
her children in France. Then, in August 1878, Fanny returned to her
home in San
Stevenson at first remained in Europe,
making the walking trip that would form the basis for Travels with a Donkey
in the Cévennes
(1879); but in August 1879, he set off to
join her, against the advice of his friends and without notifying
his parents. He took second class passage on the steamship
, in part to save money, but
also to learn how others travelled and to increase the adventure of
the journey. From New York City he travelled overland by train to
California. He later wrote about the experience in The Amateur Emigrant
. Although it was good
experience for his literature, it broke his health, and he was near
death when he arrived in Monterey.
He was nursed back to health by some
By December 1879 he had recovered his health enough to continue to
San Francisco, where for several months he struggled "all alone on
forty-five cents a day, and sometimes less, with quantities of hard
work and many heavy thoughts," in an effort to support himself
through his writing, but by the end of the winter his health was
broken again, and he found himself at death's door. Vandegrift —
now divorced and recovered from her own illness — came to
Stevenson's bedside and nursed him to recovery. "After a while," he
wrote, "my spirit got up again in a divine frenzy, and has since
kicked and spurred my vile body forward with great emphasis and
success." When his father heard of his condition he cabled him
money to help him through this period.
In May 1880, Stevenson married Fanny although, as he said, he was
"a mere complication of cough and bones, much fitter for an emblem
of mortality than a bridegroom." With his new wife and her son, Lloyd, he
travelled north of San Francisco to Napa
Valley, and spent a summer honeymoon at an abandoned mining camp on Mount Saint
He wrote about this experience in
. He met Charles Warren Stoddard
of the Overland Monthly
and author of South Sea Idylls,
who urged Stevenson to
travel to the south Pacific, an idea which would return to him many
years later. In August 1880 he sailed with his family
from New York back to Britain, and found his parents and his friend
Sidney Colvin on the wharf at Liverpool, happy to see him return home.
new wife was able to patch up differences between father and son
and make herself a part of the new family through her charm and
Attempted settlement in Europe and the U.S.
For the next seven years, between 1880 and 1887, Stevenson searched
in vain for a place of residence suitable to his state of health.
his summers at various places in Scotland and England, including
Dorset, a residential area in Bournemouth. There he lived in a dwelling he renamed
Skerryvore after a lighthouse, the tallest in Scotland, built
by his uncle Alan Stevenson many
years earlier. For his winters, he escaped to sunny France,
and lived at Davos-Platz and the Chalet de Solitude at Hyeres, where, for
a time, he enjoyed almost complete happiness.
"I have so
many things to make life sweet for me," he wrote, "it seems a pity
I cannot have that other one thing — health. But though you will be
angry to hear it, I believe, for myself at least, what is is best.
I believed it all through my worst days, and I am not ashamed to
profess it now." In spite of his ill health he produced the bulk of
his best known work: Treasure
, his first widely popular book; Kidnapped
; The Strange Case of
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
, the story which established his
wider reputation; and two volumes of verse, A Child's Garden of Verses
. At Skerryvore he
gave a copy of Kidnapped
to his dear friend and frequent
visitor, Henry James
On the death of his father in 1887, Stevenson felt free to follow
the advice of his physician to try a complete change of climate.
started with his mother and family for Colorado; but after landing in New York they decided to
spend the winter at Saranac Lake, in the Adirondacks.
During the intensely cold
winter Stevenson wrote a number of his best essays, including
Pulvis et Umbra
, he began
The Master of
, and lightheartedly planned, for the following
summer, a cruise to the southern Pacific Ocean. "The proudest
moments of my life," he wrote, "have been passed in the
stern-sheets of a boat with that romantic garment over my
Journey to the Pacific
In June 1888, Stevenson chartered the yacht Casco
sail with his family from San Francisco. The vessel "plowed her
path of snow across the empty deep, far from all track of commerce,
far from any hand of help." The salt sea air and thrill of
adventure for a time restored his health; and for nearly three
years he wandered the eastern and central Pacific, visiting
important island groups, stopping for extended stays at the
where he became a
good friend of King Kalākaua
whom Stevenson spent much time. Furthermore, Stevenson befriended
the king's niece, Princess Victoria
, who was of Scottish
. He also spent time at the Gilbert Islands, Tahiti, New Zealand
and the Samoan
During this period he completed
The Master of
, composed two ballads based on the legends of
the islanders, and wrote The Bottle
. The experience of these years is preserved in his
various letters and in The South
. A second voyage on the Equator
followed in 1889 with
It was also from this period that one particular open letter
stands as testimony to his activism
and indignation at the pettiness of such 'powers that be' as a
Presbyterian minister in Honolulu named Rev. Dr. Hyde. During his time in
the Hawaiian Islands, Stevenson had visited Molokai and the leper colony there, shortly after the
demise of Father Damien.
Dr. Hyde wrote a letter to a fellow clergyman speaking ill of
Father Damien, Stevenson wrote a scathing open letter
of rebuke to Dr. Hyde.
Soon afterwards in April 1890 Stevenson left Sydney on the
and went on his third and final voyage among
the South Seas islands.
Stevenson's birthday fete at
he purchased four hundred acres (about 1.6 square kilometres) of
land in Upolu, one of the
Samoan islands. Here, after two aborted attempts to visit
Scotland, he established himself, after much work, upon his estate
in the village of Vailima.
Stevenson's tomb on Mt.
Stevenson himself adopted the native name
for "Teller of
Tales", i.e. a storyteller). His influence spread to the natives,
who consulted him for advice, and he soon became involved in local
politics. He was convinced the European officials appointed to rule
the natives were incompetent, and after many futile attempts to
resolve the matter, he published A
Footnote to History
. This was such a stinging protest
against existing conditions that it resulted in the recall of two
officials, and Stevenson feared for a time it would result in his
own deportation. When things had finally blown over he wrote to
Colvin, who came from a family of distinguished colonial
administrators, "I used to think meanly of the plumber; but how he
shines beside the politician!"
He was friends with some of the politicians and their families. At
one point he formally donated his birthday to the daughter of
Henry Clay Ide
, then American Land
Commissioner, by deed
, an act that led to a
strong bond between the Stevenson and Ide families.
In addition to building his house and clearing his land and helping
the natives in many ways, he found time to work at his writing. He
felt that "there was never any man had so many irons in the fire."
He wrote The Beach of
(titled David Balfour
USA), The Ebb-Tide
, and the
For a time during 1894 Stevenson felt depressed; he wondered if he
had exhausted his creative vein and completely worked himself out.
He wrote that he had "overworked bitterly". He felt more clearly
that, with each fresh attempt, the best he could write was
"ditch-water". He even feared that he might again become a helpless
invalid. He rebelled against this idea: "I wish to die in my boots;
no more Land of Counterpane for me. To be drowned, to be shot, to
be thrown from a horse — ay, to be hanged, rather than pass again
through that slow dissolution." He then suddenly had a return of
his old energy and he began work on Weir of Hermiston
. "It's so good that
it frightens me," he is reported to have exclaimed . He felt that
this was the best work he had done. He was convinced, "sick and
well, I have had splendid life of it, grudge nothing, regret very
little ... take it all over, damnation and all, would hardly change
with any man of my time."
Without knowing it, he was to have his wish fulfilled. During the
morning of 3 December 1894, he had worked hard as usual on Weir
. During the evening, while conversing with his
wife and straining to open a bottle of wine, he suddenly exclaimed,
"What's that!" He then asked his wife, "Does my face look strange?"
and collapsed beside her. He died within a few hours, probably of a
, at the age
of 44. The natives insisted on surrounding his body with a
watch-guard during the night and on bearing their Tusitala upon
their shoulders to nearby Mount Vaea
where they buried him on a spot overlooking the sea. Stevenson had
always wanted his 'Requiem' inscribed on his tomb.
However, the piece is widely misquoted, including the inscription
on his tomb, which closes:
Stevenson was loved by the Samoans and the engraving on his
tombstone was translated to a Samoan song of grief which is well
known and still sung in Samoa.
Monuments and commemoration
A bronze relief memorial to Stevenson, designed by American
in 1904, is mounted in the Moray Aisle of
St Giles Cathedral
memorial in Edinburgh stands in West Princes Street Gardens below
Castle; it is a simple upright stone inscribed with "RLS -
A Man of Letters 1850 -1894" by sculptor Iain Hamilton Finlay in
A garden was designed by the Bournemouth Corporation in 1957 as a
memorial to Stevenson, on the site of his Westbourne house
"Skerryvore" which he lived in from 1885 to 1887. A statue of the
Skerryvore lighthouse is present on the site.
In 1994, to mark the 100th Anniversary of Stevenson's death, the
Royal Bank of
issued a series of commemorative £1 notes
which featured a
quill pen and Stevenson's signature on the obverse, and Stevenson's
face on the reverse side. Alongside Stevenson's portrait are scenes
from some of his books and his house in Western Samoa where he died
in 1894. Two million notes were issued, each with a serial number
beginning "RLS". The first note to be printed was sent to Samoa in
time for their centenary celebrations on 3 December 1994.
Stevenson was a celebrity in his own time, but with the rise of
after World War I
, he was seen for much of the 20th
century as a writer of the second class, relegated to children's literature
and horror genres
by literary figures such as Virginia
(daughter of his early mentor Leslie Stephen
) and her husband Leonard
, he was gradually excluded from the
canon of literature taught in schools. His exclusion reached a
height when in the 1973 2,000-page Oxford Anthology of
Stevenson was entirely unmentioned; and
Anthology of English Literature
excluded him from 1968 to
2000 (1st–7th editions), including him only in the 8th edition
(2006). The late 20th century saw the start of a re-evaluation of
Stevenson as an artist of great range and insight, a literary theorist
, an essayist and social critic
, a witness to the colonial
history of the Pacific
, and a humanist
. Even as early as 1965
the pendulum had begun to swing: he was praised by Roger Lancelyn Green, one of the
Oxford Inklings, as a writer of a consistently high level
of "literary skill or sheer imaginative power" and a co-originator
with H. Rider Haggard
of the Age of the Story Tellers
. He is now
being re-evaluated as a peer of authors such as Joseph Conrad
(whom Stevenson influenced with
his South Seas fiction) and Henry James
with new scholarly studies and organizations devoted to Stevenson.
No matter what the scholarly reception, Stevenson remains very
popular around the world. According to the Index Translationum
, Stevenson is ranked
the 25th most translated author in the world, ahead of fellow
nineteenth-century writers Charles
, Oscar Wilde
and Edgar Allan Poe
c.1870'sImage:Robert Louis StevensonJune 1885.jpg|Platinum print
, 1885, by Albert George
Dew-Smith; from the collection of the National Galleries of
Image:Sargent - Robert Louis Stevenson and His
Wife.jpg|Stevenson paces in his dining room in an 1885 portrait by
John Singer Sargent
. His wife
Fanny, seated in an Indian dress, is visible in the lower right
corner.Image:Robert Louis Stevenson by Sargent.jpg|Portrait by
John Singer Sargent
1887.Image:Rsl1.jpg|Photograph taken by Lloyd Osbourne
stevenson.jpg|Portrait by Girolamo
For a detailed list see bibliography
- Treasure Island (1883)
His first major success, a tale of piracy,
buried treasure, and adventure, has
been filmed frequently. He originally entitled it The Sea
Cook but an editor changed it.
- The Black Arrow: A Tale of the
Two Roses (1883) An historical
adventure novel and romance set during the Wars of the Roses.
- Prince Otto (1885)
Stevenson’s third full-length narrative, an action romance set in
the imaginary Germanic state of Grünewald.
Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), a novella about a dual personality much depicted
in plays and films, also influential in the growth of understanding
of the subconscious mind through its treatment of a kind and
intelligent physician who turns into a psychopathic monster after imbibing a drug
intended to separate good from evil in a personality.
- Kidnapped (1886) is a
historical novel that tells of the
boy David Balfour's pursuit of his inheritance and his alliance
with Alan Breck in the intrigues of
Jacobite troubles in Scotland.
- The Master of
Ballantrae (1889), a masterful tale of revenge, set in
Scotland, America, and India.
- The Wrong Box
(1889); co-written with Lloyd
Osbourne. A comic novel of a
tontine, also filmed (1966).
- The Wrecker (1892);
co-written with Lloyd Osbourne.
- Catriona (1893), also
known as David Balfour, is a sequel to Kidnapped,
telling of Balfour's further adventures.
- The Ebb-Tide (1894);
co-written with Lloyd Osbourne.
- Weir of Hermiston
(1896). Unfinished at the time of Stevenson's death, considered to
have promised great artistic growth.
- St. Ives: being the Adventures
of a French Prisoner in England (1897). Unfinished at the
time of Stevenson's death, the novel was completed by Arthur Quiller-Couch.
Short story collections
List of short stories sorted chronologically. Note: does not
include collaborations with Fanny found in More New Arabian
Nights: The Dynamiter
- " Béranger, Pierre Jean de", article for the
ninth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica
- Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes (1879)
- Virginibus Puerisque, and Other Papers (1881)
- Familiar Studies of Men and Books (1882)
- Memories and
Portraits (1887), a collection of essays.
- Aes Triplex (1887)
- Father Damien: an Open Letter to the Rev. Dr. Hyde
of Honolulu (1890)
- Vailima Letters (1895)
- The New Lighthouse on the Dhu Heartach Rock,
Argyllshire (1995). Based on an 1872 manuscript edited by R.
G. Swearingen. California. Silverado Museum.
- Sophia Scarlet (2008). Based on 1892 manuscript edited
by Robert Hoskins. AUT Media (AUT University).
- An Inland
Voyage (1878), travels with a friend in a "Rob Roy"
canoe from Antwerp (Belgium) to Pontoise, just north of Paris.
- Travels with a Donkey
in the Cévennes (1879), two weeks' solo ramble (with
Modestine as his beast of burden) in
the mountains of Cévennes
(south-central France), one of the first books to present hiking and camping as recreational activities. It tells of
commissioning one of the first sleeping
- The Silverado
Squatters (1883). An unconventional honeymoon trip to an
abandoned mining camp in Napa Valley with his new wife Fanny and her son Lloyd.
He presciently identifies the California
wine industry as one to be reckoned with.
- Across the Plains
(written in 1879–80, published in 1892). Second leg of his journey,
by train from New York to California (then picks up with The
Silverado Squatters). Also includes other travel essays.
- The Amateur
Emigrant (written 1879–80, published 1895). An account of
the first leg of his journey to California, by ship from Europe to
New York. Andrew Noble (From the Clyde to California: Robert
Louis Stevenson’s Emigrant Journey, 1985) considers it to be
his finest work.
- The Old and New
Pacific Capitals (1882). An account of his stay in
Monterey, California in August to December 1879. Never published
separately. See, for example, James D. Hart, ed., From Scotland
to Silverado, 1966.
Although not well known, his island fiction and non-fiction is
among the most valuable and collected of the 19th century body of
work that addresses the Pacific area.
Non-fiction works on the Pacific
- In the South Seas. A
collection of Stevenson's articles and essays on his travels in the
Footnote to History, Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa
Stevenson was an amateur composer who wrote songs typical of
California in the 1880s, salon-type music, entertaining rather than
serious. A flageolet
player, Stevenson had
studied harmony and simple counterpoint and knew such basic
instrumental techniques as transposition. Some song titles include
"Fanfare", "Tune for Flageolet", "Habanera", and "Quadrille".
Robert Hughes in 1968 arranged a number of Stevenson's songs for
, which went on a
tour of the Pacific Northwest in that year.
- At about 18, Stevenson changed the spelling of 'Lewis' to
'Louis', and in 1873 he dropped 'Balfour': Mehew (2004). The
spelling 'Lewis' is said to have been rejected because his father
violently disliked another person of the same name, and the new
spelling was not accompanied by a change of pronunciation: Balfour
(1901) I, 29 n. 1.
- Furnas (1952), 23–4; Mehew (2004).
- Paxton (2004).
- Balfour (1901), 10–12; Furnas (1952), 24; Mehew (2004).
- Memories and Portraits (1887),
Chapter VII. The Manse.
- Furnas (1952), 25–8; Mehew (2004).
- Furnas (1952), 28–32; Mehew (2004).
- Available at Bartleby and elsewhere.
- Furnas (1952), 29; Mehew (2004).
- Furnas (1952), 34–6; Mehew (2004). Alison Cunningham's
recollection of Stevenson balances the picture of an over sensitive
child, "like other bairns, whiles very naughty": Furnas (1952),
- Mehew (2004).
- Balfour (1901) I, 67; Furnas (1952), 43–5.
- Furnas (1952), 51-54, 60-62; Mehew (2004).
- Balfour (1901) I, 86-8; 90-4; Furnas (1952), 64-9.
- Balfour (1901) I, 70-2; Furnas (1952), 48-9; Mehew (2004).
- Balfour (1901) I, 85-6.
- Underwoods (1887), Poem XXXVIII.
- Furnas (1952), 69-70; Mehew (2004).
- Furnas (1952), 53-7; Mehew (2004).
- Furnas (1952), 69 with n. 15 (on the club); 72-6.
- Furnas (1952), 81-2; 85-9; Mehew (2004).
- Furnas (1952), 84-5.
- Furnas (1952), 95; 101
- Balfour (1901) I, 123-4; Furnas (1952) 105-6; Mehew
- Furnas (1952), 89-95.
- Balfour (1901) I, 128-37.
- Furnas (1952), 100-1.
- Balfour (1901) I, 127.
- Furnas (1952), 122-9; Mehew (2004).
- Balfour (1901) I, 145-6; Mehew (2004).
- Furnas (1952), 130-6; Mehew (2004).
- Balfour (1901) I, 164-5; Furnas (1952), 142-6; Mehew
- Letter to Sidney Colvin, January 1880, The Letters of
Robert Louis Stevenson, Volume 1, Chapter
- "To Edmund Gosse, Monterey, Monterey Co., California, 8 October
1879," The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, Volume 1,
- "To P. G. Hamerton, Kinnaird Cottage, Pitlochry [July 1881],"
The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, Volume 1,
- The physician who treated Stevenson there was Dr. Carl Rüedi.
- "To Sidney Colvin, Pitlochry, August 1881," The Letters of
Robert Louis Stevenson, Volume 1, Chapter
- References to Skerryvore come from Leon Edel's Henry James:
A Life, c. 1985, p. 309 - 310.
- "To W.E. Henley, Pitlochry, if you please, [August] 1881,"
The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, Volume 1,
- Quoted from Stevenson's diary in Overton, Jacqueline M.
The Life of Robert Louis Stevenson for Boys and
Girls. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1933.
- The Cruise of the Janet Nichol Among the South Sea
Islands, Mrs Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles
Scribner's Sons, New York, 1914.
- Letter to Sidney Colvin, April 17, 1893, Vailima
Letters, Chapter XXVIII.
- Letter to Sidney Colvin, January 3, 1892, Vailima
Letters, Chapter XIV.
- Letter to Sidney Colvin, December 1893, Vailima
Letters, Chapter XXXV.
- "To W.E. Henley, [Trinity College, Cambridge, Autumn 1878],"
The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, Volume 1,
- Letter to Sidney Colvin, May, 1892, Vailima Letters,
- "To H. B. Baildon, Vailima, Upolu [undated, but written in
1891].," The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, Volume 2,
- Balfour, Graham (1906). The Life of Robert Louis
Stevenson. London: Methuen. 264.
- introduction to 1965 Everyman's Library edition of the
one-volume The Prisoner of Zenda and
Rupert of Hentzau
- Stephen Arata (2006). "Robert Louis Stevenson". David Scott
Kastan (ed.). The Oxford Encyclopedia of British
Literature. Vol. 5: 99-102
- See the Index Translationum.
- Graham Balfour, The Life of Robert Louis Stevenson,
London: Methuen, 1901.
- John Jay Chapman "Robert Louis Stevenson", Emerson, and
Other Essays. New York: AMS Press, 1969, ISBN
0404006191 (reprinted from the edition of 1899)
- David Daiches, "Robert Louis Stevenson and his World", London:
Thames and Hudson, 1973, ISBN 0500130450
- J. C. Furnas, Voyage to Windward: The Life of Robert Louis
Stevenson, London: Faber and Faber, 1952
- Claire Harman, Robert Louis Stevenson: A Biography,
HarperCollins, ISBN 0-00-711321-8 [reviewed by Matthew Sturgis in
the Times Literary
Supplement, 11 March 2005, page 8]
- James Pope-Hennessy,
Robert Louis Stevenson - A Biography, London: Cape, 1974,
- Ernest Mehew, "Robert Louis Stevenson",
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: OUP,
2004. Retrieved on 29 September 2008
- Roland Paxton, "Stevenson, Thomas (1818-1887)",
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: OUP,
2004. Retrieved on 11 October 2008
Biographies and commentaries
- There are over 200 published biographies of RLS
- Robert Louis Stevenson: a record, an estimate, and a
memorial, by Alexander H.
- Robert Louis Stevenson, a biography by Sir
- Robert Louis Stevenson: a memoir (1895), by
Edmund Gosse who knew Stevenson
- The Life of Robert Louis Stevenson (1913) by
Graham Balfour, Stevenson's cousin.
- Robert Louis Stevenson: biography (1911), by
Edmund Gosse, from the Encyclopædia
Britannica Eleventh Edition
- Robert Louis Stevenson, biography from the
Dictionary of Literary Biography, 1987.