"Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm."

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Robert Louis Stevenson (November 13, 1850—December 3, 1894) was a Scottish writer. He wrote essays, novels, short fiction, and poems. He is most remembered for his adventure writing. His most famous works include Treasure Island (1883), Kidnapped (1886), Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), and The Black Arrow (1888).

Robert_Louis_Stevenson_mit_7_JahrenStevenson was born Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson in Edinburgh, Scotland to Thomas Stevenson and Margaret Isabella Balfour. Stevenson inherited a weak chest from his mother, causing him to be sick often into adulthood. It is said that during his bouts of sickness, his strictly Calvinist nurse, Alison Cunningham, would read him stories and cultivate early anxiety about religion, though the two had a fond relationship with each other.

Though he didn't learn to read until seven or eight, he dictated stories from young age and eventually began to write them. His parents were mostly supportive of his interest, his father paying for the publication of his first story, The Pentland Rising: A Page of History, 1666 (1866), when he was 16.

His health problems meant that he regularly had to take breaks from attending school to study with private tutors. One school he did attend was Edinburgh Academy. (Image source)

In 1867, he began attending the University of Edinburgh to study engineering. Though he had initially intended to follow in the family business, he later switched to studying law. He spent the next few summers traveling, spending much of his time with artists. After he graduated with a law degree, he decided his true calling was to become a writer.

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In 1876, he met Fanny Osborne, a married American woman who had two children. She divorced her husband for Stevenson, and he moved to California to be with her. They remained together until his death.

His first significant work was an account of his travels in An Inland Voyage (1878). He followed with Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881) and later essays in Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes (1879). New Arabian Nights (1882) was his first book of short fiction.

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The 1880s saw Stevenson confined to his bed as a result of his declining health. During this period, he wrote extensively. His output included what would become his most famous works: Treasure Island (1883), Kidnapped (1886), Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), and The Black Arrow (1888).

In 1888, Stevenson and his new family left San Francisco, mostly in search of a place that would be suitable for his health. They stopped on many islands, including Hawaii, and eventually settled and built a house on the Samoan islands. Stevenson continued to write and many of his later works are about the Pacific, including The Wrecker (1892), Island Nights' Entertainments (1893), The Ebb-Tide (1894) and In the South Seas (1896). He maintained close ties with many Samoan families and was eventually buried atop Mount Vaea there. (Image source)

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Thursday, 13 November 2014
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