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Robert Louis Stevenson: A Biography by Claire Harman
  

Robert Louis Stevenson: A Biography

Biography / Autobiography   Books for the Boys   
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The first life story of Stevenson to be written with access to his collected correspondence. Harmanâs previous book (on Fanny Burney) was shortlisted for the Whitbread

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Synopsis

Robert Louis Stevenson: A Biography by Claire Harman

The short life of Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) was as adventurous as almost anything in his fiction: his travels, illness, struggles to become a writer, relationships with his volatile wife and step-family, friendships and quarrels have fascinated readers for over a century. In his time he was both engineer and aesthete, dutiful son and reckless lover, Scotsman and South Sea Islander, Covenanter and atheist. Stevenson's books, including Treasure Island, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Kidnapped, have achieved world fame; others - The Master of Ballantrae, A Child's Garden of Verses, Travels with a Donkey - remain all-time favourites. His unique gift for storytelling and dramatic characterisation has meant that that some of his characters live in the consciousness even of those who have never read his work: Long John Silver, with his wooden leg and his parrot, is more real to most people than any historical pirate, while 'Jekyll and Hyde' has become a universally recognised term for a split personality.
No biography has yet done justice to the complex, brilliant and troubled man who was responsible for so many remarkable creations. His interest in psychology, genetics, technology and feminism anticipated the concerns of the next century, while his experiments in narrative technique inspired post-modern innovators such as Borges and Nabokov. Stevenson's recently collected correspondence shows him to have been the least 'Victorian' of Victorian writers, a man of humour, resilience and strongly unconventional views. With access to this and much previously unpublished material, Claire Harman, the acclaimed biographer of Sylvia Townsend Warner and Fanny Burney, has written the most authoritative, comprehensive and perceptive portrait of 'RLS' to date.

About the Author

Claire Harman

Claire Harman's biography of Sylvia Townsend Warner was published in 1989 by Chatto (Minerva pb 1990) and won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for a book of value from a writer of growing stature. She was Co-ordinating Editor of PN Review from 1981 to 1984; has written short stories for radio; written for most of the major British literary papers; and edited Sylvia Townsend Warners Diaries (1994) to wide acclaim. She has taught 19th and 20th century literature at Manchester University and now lives in Oxford with her daughter and two sons.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th February 2005

Author

Claire Harman

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    recommendations

Author's Website

www.claireharman.com/

Publisher

Harper Collins

Format

Hardback

Categories

Biography / Autobiography
Books for the Boys


ISBN

9780007113217

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