Robert louis stevenson


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Robert louis stevenson

  1. 1. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON 1850 - 1894
  2. 2. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON  Scottish essayist, poet, and author of fiction and travel books, known especially for his novels of adventure. Stevenson's characters often prefer unknown hazards to everyday life of the Victorian society. His most famous study of the abysmal depths of personality is THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1886). Many of Stevenson's stories are set in colorful locations, they have also horror and supernatural elements. Arguing against realism, Stevenson underlined the "nameless longings of the reader", the desire for experience.
  3. 3. LIFE AND WORKS I  Robert Louis Stevenson was born to Thomas and Margaret Isabella Balfour Stevenson in Edinburgh on 13 November 1850. From the beginning he was sickly. Through much of his childhood he was attended by his faithful nurse, Alison Cunningham, known as Cummy in the family circle. She told him morbid stories about the Covenanters (the Scots Presbyterian martyrs), read aloud to him Victorian penny-serial novels, Bible stories, and the Psalms, and drilled the catechism into him, all with his parents' approval. Thomas Stevenson was quite a storyteller himself, and his wife doted on their only child, sitting in admiration while her precocious son expounded on religious dogma. Stevenson inevitably reacted to the morbidity of his religious education and to the stiffness of his family's middle-class values, but that rebellion would come only after he entered Edinburgh University.
  4. 4. LIFE AND WORKS II  In November 1867 Stevenson entered Edinburgh University, where he pursued his studies indifferently until 1872. Instead of concentrating on academic work, he busied himself in learning how to write, imitating the styles of William Hazlitt, Sir Thomas Browne, Daniel Defoe, Charles Lamp, and Michel de Montaigne. By the time he was twenty-one, he had contributed several papers to the short-lived Edinburgh University Magazine, the best of which was a fanciful bit of fluff entitled "The Philosophy of Umbrellas." Edinburgh University was a place for him to play the truant more than the student. His only consistent course of study seemed to have been of bohemia: Stevenson adopted a widebrimmed hat, a cravat, and a boy's coat that earned him the nickname of Velvet Jacket, while he indulged a taste for haunting the byways of Old Town and becoming acquainted with its denizens .
  5. 5. LIFE AND WORKS III   Stevenson wanted to become a writer, not an engineer as his father expected from him. Thomas Stevenson insisted that the young man study law, and his son stuck to the bargain long enough to receive, in 1875, a law degree he barely used. It was not the first time that Stevenson disappointed his father. In January 1873 Thomas Stevenson discovered some papers that seemed to suggest that the young Stevenson was an atheist. Father and son had their worst falling out. In letters to his student chums, especially to Charles Baxter, Stevenson called himself a "damned curse" on his family. Though it is tempting to see his filial rebellion as a classic Victorian melodrama, father and son did reconcile. The episode is more important in having given the author one of the enduring themes of his fiction. It runs from "An Old Song," a short story published in an 1877 issue of the weekly London, to the masterly romance Weir of Hermiston (1896), left unfinished. It also threads through his nonfiction, in which it is tempered by a tone of reconciliation. For example, in "Crabbed Age and Youth," written in 1877, Stevenson seems to be looking for the common bond that father and son share.
  6. 6. LIFE AND WORKS IV  Illness often curtailed his studies and throughout his life he travelled to warmer climes for respite. Whether in the south of France or the South Seas, Stevenson wrote numerous novels, stories, and collections of essays based on his travels including Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes (1879), travels in Belgium and France via canoe inspiring An Inland Voyage (1878), and In the South Seas (1893). While on one of his many forays in France, Stevenson met American artist Fanny Osbourne (1840-1914) who was there without her husband but with son Lloyd and daughter Isabel . The children were dazzled by Stevenson's outgoing personality and pirate stories, and Louis and Fanny fell in love.
  7. 7. LIFE AND WORKS V  In August of 1879 he sailed for New York from Glasgow, much to the distress of his father Thomas who was concerned for his health and well-being. After making the arduous cross-country journey to San Francisco which inspired The Amateur Emigrant (1895), Across The Plains (1892), and The Silverado Squatters (1883) Louis and Fanny were re-united, since she had been newly granted a divorce. In May 1880 they were married.
  8. 8. LIFE AND WORKS VI  Stevenson took up a number of positions writing for various newspapers and magazines including The Cornhill Magazine. In 1880 the Stevensons travelled back to Europe, living for a time in Bournemouth, England where Stevenson met fellow author Henry James. However the climate was still too much for him and he spent winters travelling. In 1888 he set sail for the South Seas, and by the end of 1889 was familiar with the island of Samoa, the place where he and Fanny would soon call home.
  9. 9. LIFE AND WORKS VII  Having been enamoured of the locals who bestowed the name "Tusitala" or "Teller of Tales" on him, Stevenson purchased four hundred acres that would be the setting for his mansion "Vailima" (Five Rivers) in the village of same name. Stevenson immersed himself in the local culture and politics of his new home, and continued his prodigious output of novels and letters. Robert Louis Stevenson died at home of a stroke on 3 December 1894, his beloved Fanny by his side. His tomb at Mount Vaea is inscribed thus:
  10. 10. Epigraph  "Under the wide and starry sky, Dig the grave and let me lie. Glad did I live and gladly die, And I laid me down with a will. This be the verse you grave for me, Here he lies where he longed to be. Home is the sailor home from the sea, And the hunter home from the hill”.
  11. 11. FICTION The Story of a Lie (1879) New Arabian Nights (1882) The Black Arrow (1883) The Strange case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde (1886) The Merry Men (1887) The Master of Ballantrae (1889) The Misadventures of John Nicholson (1894) The Ebb-Tide (1894) St. Ives (1897) Island Nights' Entertainments (1905) Prince Otto: A Romance (1905)
  12. 12. NON - FICTION Edinburgh Picturesque Notes (1879) Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881) Memoir of Fleeming Jenkin (1887) Memories and Portraits (1887) A Footnote to History (1892) Essays of Robert Louis Stevenson (1892) Familiar Studies of Men & Books (1894) Lay Morals and Other Papers (1911) Records of a Family of Engineers (1916)
  13. 13. POETRY BOOKS  Underwoods (1887) Ballads (1891) Songs of Travel and Other Verses (1896) Prayers Written At Vailima (1904) New Poems (1918)
  15. 15. THE PLOT I  Dr Jekyll, a highly reputed scientist who leads a quiet and sober life, is obsessed with the idea that his evil tendencies can be separated from his good side, giving birth to two beings: one wholly good and one wholly bad.  Discovering a drug that works this change, he takes it and finds that it turns him into a new person, physically deformed and of an evil nature; this ugly man commits every sort of crime and is called Mr Hyde.
  16. 16. THE PLOT II  When Jekyll wants to return to his usual self, all he has to do is to take the drug again. With time, Hyde’s evil nature grows to the point that he commits murder and is ready to do more.  Dr Jekyll is frightened by this and would like to get rid of Hyde for ever, but finds that he has lost control over him; it is Hyde, in fact, who takes over Jekyll’s body without needing the drug anymore.
  17. 17. THE PLOT III  Now Jekyll only has got two choices: on the one hand, he may choose a life of crime and depravity or, on the other hand, the Jekyll aspect must eliminate Hyde in the only way left: by killing him. So Jekyll’s final and only choice is … suicide.
  18. 18. A multi – narrative structure
  19. 19. Mr Utterson’s role  Utterson, from whose point of view the reader follows most of the story, has the role of a detective, very much in line with Arthur Conan Doyle ‘s Sherlock Holmes: he follows clues and draws hypotheses.
  20. 20. INFLUENCES & INTERPRETATIONS  Stevenson drew inspiration for the description of Hyde from Darwin’s studies of man’s kinship to the animal world.  Hyde’s small stature indicates that his body is not exercised, he is lame, deformed.  Hyde may be both the primitive, the evolutionary forerunner of civilised man and the symbol of repressed psychological impulses
  21. 21. THE THEMES The double The overreacher The Victorian compromise The relationship between science and morals  Symbolical journey of the artist into the unexplored regions of the human psyche    
  22. 22. LINKS & CONNECTONS  Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein  Dr Frankenstein/Dr Jekyll  The creature/Mr Hyde  The double  The overreacher  Relationship between science and morals  Social criticism
  23. 23. LINKS AND CONNECTIONS Oscar Wilde, THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY       The double The overreacher Jekyll/Dorian : modern Fausts Gothic elements The Victorian compromise Critical attitude against the society of the time