Robert Louis Stevenson: A Literary Life (Literary Lives)

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9780333984017: Robert Louis Stevenson: A Literary Life (Literary Lives)
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More than most writers, Robert Louis Stevenson requires a Literary Life. As Henry James commented on reading Balfour's Life: 'Louis... has superseded, personally, his books, and this last replacement of himself... has killed the literary baggage.' Serious critical attention to Stevenson's literary works has been relatively slow to appear, though the 'Life of Stevenson' continues to flourish, having become almost a minor genre in its own right. The version of Stevenson's literary life presented here embraces Stevenson's own reservations about the role of linear chronology in biography, and is more of a literary geography than a literary history. Its structure is defined by the various geographical and cultural contexts (Scotland, France, England, America and the South Seas) in which Stevenson lived and worked. This is the first literary biography of Stevenson since the publication of his Collected Letters, and makes use of previously unpublished letters.

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Review:

'A new book... mapping the bohemian life of Robert Louis Stevenson looks at the cocaine-fuelled convalescence that produced Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and a whole lot more besides.' - Phil Hewitt - Chichester Observer

'Gray's close reading is meticulous and intelligent so there's a sense that we're engaging with the real texture of Stevenson's life and work.' - The Scotsman

'With admirable economy, Gray delineates Stevenson's engagements with different literary cultures and traditions - he is especially good on the fertilizing effects of French literature on Stevenson's imagination - and then lays out the varied fruits of those engagements: essays, poems, letters, travelogues, plays, and prose fiction' - Stephen Arata, Victorian Studies 48 (Spring 2006)

Synopsis:

More than most writers, Robert Louis Stevenson requires a Literary Life. Fascination with Stevenson's life (the 'Stevenson biography' is almost a minor genre) has tended to eclipse his literary achievement. This study focuses on Stevenson's writing practice within the different geographical, cultural and political contexts that shaped it, from Scotland to the South Seas. Following Stevenson's own views on biography, the book is not structured primarily in terms of chronology, but is more a kind of literary geography than traditional literary history.

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9780333984000: Robert Louis Stevenson: A Literary Life (Literary Lives)

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ISBN 10:  0333984005 ISBN 13:  9780333984000
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004
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