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ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON was born in Edinburgh in 1850. The son of a prosperous civil engineer, he was expected to follow the family profession but finally was allowed to study law at Edinburgh University. Stevenson reacted violently against the Presbyterian respectability of the city’s professional classes and this led to painful clashes with his parents. In his early twenties he became afflicted with a severe respiratory illness from which he was to suffer for the rest of his life. In 1879 he nearly killed himself traveling to California to marry Fanny Osbourne, an American ten years his senior. Together they continued his search for a climate kind to his fragile health, eventually settling in Samoa, where he died on 3 December 1894.
Stevenson’s Calvinistic upbringing gave him a preoccupation with predestination and a fascination with the presence of evil. In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde he explores the darker side of the human psyche, and the character of the Master in The Master of Ballantrae (1889) was intended to be “all I know of the Devil.” Stevenson began his literary career as an essayist and travel writer, but the success of Treasure Island (1883) and Kidnapped (1886) established his reputation for tales of action and adventure. Kidnapped and its sequel Catriona (1893), The Master of Ballantrae, and stories such as “Thrawn Janet” and “The Merry Men” also reveal his knowledge and feeling for the Scottish cultural past. During the last years of his life Stevenson’s creative range developed considerably, and The Beach of Falesá brought to fiction the kind of scene now associated with Conrad and Maugham. At the time of his death Robert Louis Stevenson was working on The Weir of Hermiston, at once a romantic historical novel and a reworking of one of Stevenson’s own most distressing experiences, the conflict between father and son.
JOHN SEELYE is graduate research professor of American literature at the University of Florida. He is the author of The True Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain in the Movies: A Meditation, and Prophetic Waters: The River in Early American Literature.
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON
Edited with an Introduction by
Published by the Penguin Group
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Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published in the United States of America by
Charles Scribner & Sons 1894
This edition with an introduction by John Seelye
published in Penguin Books 1999
Introduction copyright © John Seelye, 1999
All rights reserved
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING IN PUBLICATION DATA
Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850–1894.
Treasure Island/Robert Louis Stevenson;
edited with an introduction by John Seelye.
p. cm.—(Penguin classics)
Includes bibliographical references.
1. Treasure-trove—Fiction. 2. Pirates—Fiction.
I. Seelye, John D. II. Title. III. Series.
Printed in the United States of America
Set in Stempel Garamond
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Suggestions for Further Reading
THE OLD BUCCANEER
I. The Old Sea Dog at the “Admiral Benbow”
II. Black Dog Appears and Disappears
III. The Black Spot
IV. The Sea-Chest
V. The Last of the Blind Man
VI. The Captain’s Papers
THE SEA COOK
VII. I Go to Bristol
VIII. At the Sign of the “Spy-glass”
IX. Powder and Arms
X. The Voyage
XI. What I Heard in the Apple Barrel
XII. Council of War
MY SHORE ADVENTURE
XIII. How My Shore Adventure Began
XIV. The First Blow
XV. The Man of the Island
XVI. Narrative Continued by the Doctor:
How the Ship Was Abandoned
XVII. Narrative Continued by the Doctor:
The Jolly-boat’s Last Trip
XVIII. Narrative Continued by the Doctor:
End of the First Day’s Fighting
XIX. Narrative Resumed by Jim Hawkins:
The Garrison in the Stockade
XX. Silver’s Embassy
XXI. The Attack
My SEA ADVENTURE
XXII. How My Sea Adventure Began
XXIII. The Ebb-tide Runs
XXIV. The Cruise of the Coracle
XXV. I Strike the Jolly Roger
XXVI. Israel Hands
XXVII. “Pieces of Eight”
XXVIII. In the Enemy’s Camp
XXIX. The Black Spot Again
XXX. On Parole
XXXI. The Treasure Hunt—Flint’s Pointer
XXXII. The Treasure Hunt—The Voice among the Trees
XXXIII. The Fall of a Chieftain
XXXIV. And Last
Appendix A: “My First Book” (1894)
Appendix B: Tales of a Traveller
Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island is the quintessential British adventure story, and like so many such is aimed at a young and chiefly male readership. It belongs in part to the castaway tradition, commencing with Robinson Crusoe and continuing with The Swiss Family Robinson and Marryat’s Masterman Ready, all of which Stevenson read as a boy. But like other Stevenson tales, it was also inspired by the example and form of Sir Walter Scott’s historical romances, and contains as well characters obviously indebted to Charles Dickens, who had by midcentury replaced Scott as the popular author of the day.