Robert Louis Stevenson


Portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson was a great Scottish writer with a powerful sense of romanticism and adventure. He wrote several novels including Treasure Island, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Kidnapped which made him one of the most famous writers of the 19th century. He also wrote many short stories and poems.

Stevenson was born in Edinburgh in 1850 and despite pressure to follow in his father´s footsteps and study engineering he had other ideas. After studying law he was determined to become a writer and he embarked on some travels which he wrote about. He travelled across and Europe and the US, then in the summer of 1881 while back in Scotland he got an idea for a book after drawing a treasure map for his stepson.

His first novel was Treasure Island a book which has never been out of print. Stevenson suffered from tuberculosis for most of his life and while working on Kidnapped in 1884 he had a strange dream which inspired Jekyll and Hyde. The entire novel was written in just ten weeks and is still widely read and adapted across the world today.

In 1887 he returned to the US and chartered a boat to the South Seas. He was taken with Samoa and bought land there and was soon adopted by the locals who called him Tusitala which means storyteller. In 1894 while working on a novel called Weir of Hermiston Stevenson had a brain haemorrhage and died.

Robert Louis Stevenson was famous in his own lifetime and his works deservedly remain very popular to this day. His tomb is on the summit of Mount Vaea in Western Samoa.