The Life And Works Of Robert Louis

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The Life And Works Of Robert Louis Balfour Stevens Essay, Research Paper Plaisance 1 The Life and Works of Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson Robert Louis Stevenson lived a life full of adventure and excitement. He was born on November 13, 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland as the only son of Thomas Stevenson, a wealthy engineer and his wife Martha Balfour. He was a sickly child at birth but despite his many illnesses he attended Edinburgh Academy and later the Edinburgh University where he began to study engineering. (Menikoff 1) He had chosen this field of study to please his father and because of his lack of interest in it, he dropped the study of engineering and began to prepare to study law. It was in this stage of his education that his first published work, The Pentland Rising,

was printed. (Britannica 2) While he attended college, Stevenson began to rebel against his parents way of life and their religion and suffered from a severe lung disease. He went for a period of convalescence with some relatives where he met Mrs. Fanny Sitwell who would be a huge influence in his life. Because of his respiratory illness, he went to the French Riviera where he stayed for two years until returning home. It was during these travels that he wrote An Inland Voyage, and Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes, which led him towards his career of a professional writer.(Stern 384) In 1876 Stevenson met Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne in a riverside village named Grez in the South of France. Falling desperately in love, they created quite a scandal because she was a married

woman. Stevenson’s family was outraged but they were later calmed by her move to California in 1878. News of her illness in 1879, however, renewed their anger because Robert set out for California without any money with him to see her. (World Book) After many trials and tribulations on the journey to San Francisco, he made it to Fanny and in 1880 they were married. (She had divorced her first husband.) It was at this time that his father finally relented from his angry stance Plaisance 2and sent him some much-needed money that enabled Robert and Fanny to move back to Scotland and reunite with his family. Soon after arriving home, he once again set out around the globe, this time with family in tow. It was during this period of travel and illness in which Stevenson started his

most famous work Treasure Island. (Menikoff 3) In 1882 Robert and his wife moved to the South of France in a chalet in Hyeres where he said “I’ve only been happy once, at Hyeres.” (Stern 388) It was while he was living here that he had a dangerous hemorrhage that brought him to the point of near-death and kept him bed-ridden and nearly paralyzed for almost three years. Despite this handicap, he continued to write and it was then that he wrote the major part of his popular children’s’ book A Child’s Garden of Verses. He needed to continue to write in order to pay his medical bills and it was in this time that he penned The Strange Case Of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, a book that was an immediate success both critically and financially. The publication of The Strange Case

Of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde in America led to him being considered a celebrity and resulted in his moving to the U.S.A. In June of 1888 he set sail from San Francisco on the pleasure yacht Casco, on what was intended to be a journey to restore his health. What was meant to be a vacation, however, ended in his staying in the South Seas for the rest of his life. Once he was at sea, there was a marked change in his health and activities. People that knew him as an invalid on land were shocked to see the vital, energetic man onboard the yacht. (Stern 390) After traveling through Hawaii and many of the islands in the Pacific he made port in Samoa where he began construction of a new home that he called Valilima. The people of Samoa loved him and called him Tusitala which translates as