Victorian Literature Robert Louis Stevenson
by
Glenda Norquay
  • LAST MODIFIED: 21 November 2012
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199799558-0092

Introduction

Robert Louis Stevenson (b. 1850–d. 1894) was born in Scotland and died in Samoa at the end of a life of travels, during which he produced novels, short stories, literary essays, poetry, drama, and travel writing. Trained in law at Edinburgh University, Stevenson was under pressure to conform to the Edinburgh bourgeois society in which his family had made its name as lighthouse engineers; he preferred a more bohemian existence as a writer. He sought adventure through travel but also needed an environment amenable to his recurring ill health. Early travels around Scotland then in France, where he met his wife (an unconventional and controversial American named Fanny van der Grift), were extended in later life to America, Australia, and Samoa. Hailed in his time as the savior of “masculine romance,” his adventure novels for both adults and children—Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Catriona (published in the United States as David Balfour), The Master of Ballantrae, even the less successful St. Ives—revived the genre with brio but also deployed it to address larger issues around imperialism and personal, political, and national identities. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde became an archetype of gothic duality. But Stevenson also wrote a large number of essays, many on literary topics. He also produced mannered fiction (Prince Otto and The New Arabian Nights); wrote significant Scottish short stories, such as “Thrawn Janet”; and latterly engaged with Polynesian politics, intervening in person and in writing. His later fiction, set in the South Seas (The Ebb-Tide, The Wrecker, “The Beach of Falesá”) and in Scotland (David Balfour and Weir of Hermiston), is generally recognized as representing a darker realism and new direction. Just as Treasure Island and Jekyll and Hyde perhaps obscured the full range of Stevenson’s fiction, so his success with the much-loved A Child’s Garden of Verses diverted attention from his other poetry. Stevenson also worked collaboratively, most notably with a friend from his Edinburgh days, W. E. Henley (with whom he later quarreled), and with Fanny’s son from her first marriage, Lloyd Osbourne. By the 1890s Stevenson was viewed as a highly successful writer and popular romantic figure, yet attention to his short and romantic life was at the expense of his work. It has taken time for his reputation to recover from the critical backlash of the early 20th century. Biographical interest has remained intense, but critical interest in his work has flourished in the 21st century.

General Overviews

There are surprisingly few general overviews of Stevenson’s writing, with earlier criticism focusing on one aspect of his writing and more recent monographs driven by theses that shape interpretation. Two early studies, Daiches 1947 and Saposnik 1974, offer insights into a good range of works. Furnas 1951, Calder 1980, and Harman 2005, all cited under Biography: General, usefully situate writing into life narrative. Mehew 2004, in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, presents a succinct and masterly outline. There are a number of collections of critical essays, several arising from major conferences, cited under Criticism that tend to the specific. The best general overview is Fielding 2010. The RLS Website offers an excellent starting point to the life, works, and critical responses. The Journal of Stevenson Studies is a good representation of early-21st-century work.

Bibliographies

Stevenson’s itinerant life and complicated family networks resulted in worldwide distribution of his manuscripts and complicated histories of publication. Two key sources for bibliographic information are Swearingen 1980 and the RLS Website. Hammond 1984 offers an overview of published works, but Swearingen 1999 extends the discussion to manuscripts, bibliographies, and criticism. Nollen 1994 provides details of film and radio adaptations.

Source Material

Guides to individual collections of Stevenson manuscripts in two key holdings are McKay 1951 and Wainwright 1971. Bethune and Davies 1978 catalogues the material held in Stevenson’s hometown. The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, and the Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, also have important manuscript holdings.

  • Bethune, Andrew, and Ronald Davies. Robert Louis Stevenson: Supplementary Catalogue of the Stevenson Collection in the Edinburgh Room with a Select List of Books and Manuscripts in Lady Stair’s House Museum. Edinburgh: Edinburgh City Libraries, 1978.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Guide to the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, holdings of Stevenson manuscripts.

    Find this resource:

  • McKay, George L., comp. A Stevenson Library Catalogue of a Collection of Writings by and about Robert Louis Stevenson. 6 vols. New Haven, CT: Yale University Library, 1951.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Catalogue of the largest collection of Stevenson’s manuscripts, correspondence, memorabilia, and books from his library. Formed by Edwin J. Beinecke.

    Find this resource:

  • Wainwright, Alexander D. Robert Louis Stevenson: A Catalogue of the Henry E. Gerstley Stevenson Collection, the Stevenson Section of the Morris L. Parrish Collection of Victorian Novelists, and Items from Other Collections in the Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections of the Princeton University Library. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1971.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Guide to a large collection of Stevenson material and related correspondence from Scribner’s archives.

    Find this resource:

Critical

Maixner 1981 and Alblas 1996 offer overviews of reception and works in translation, while Swearingen 2006, Swearingen 2007, Niederhoff 2005, and the works section of the RLS Website (cited under Bibliographies) summarize and critique editions and criticism. Maixner 1981 offers an essential guide to reception, though new reviews are identified in Jolly 2009 (cited under General Criticism). Swearingen 2006 and Swearingen 2007 contain trenchant critiques of editions, criticism, and biographies. Niederhoff 2005 concentrates on criticism, while Alblas 1996 addresses translation.

  • Alblas, J. B. H. “The Early Production and Reception of Stevenson’s Work in England and The Netherlands.” In Beauty and the Beast: Christina Rossetti, Walter Pater, R. L. Stevenson, and Their Contemporaries. Edited by Peter Liebregts and Wim Tigges, 209–220. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1996.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Identifies four stages of Stevenson’s reception: covers his life as a whole, the period up to 1914, his 1914–1950s decline, and his popular revival. Identifies Furnas 1951 (cited under Biography: General) as a critical turning point in his reputation as a serious writer. Traces the rise and fall of English and Dutch publications.

    Find this resource:

  • Maixner, Paul C., ed. Robert Louis Stevenson: The Critical Heritage. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Arranged by chronological order, this work shows responses to Stevenson’s books on publication and in subsequent studies. Notes that for many years Stevenson was better received by general readers and practicing writers than by critics. Extensive introduction.

    Find this resource:

  • Niederhoff, Burkhard. “Robert Louis Stevenson’s Arrival on the Academic Scene: A Survey of Recent Studies.” Literatur in Wissenschaft und Unterricht 38.4 (2005): 319–339.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Informative, evaluative account of Stevenson studies concentrating on 2003–2005 and identifying a more theorized, less defensive critical attitude.

    Find this resource:

  • Swearingen, Roger G. “Recent Studies in Robert Louis Stevenson: Letters, Reference Works, Texts, 1970–2005.” Dickens Studies Annual 37 (2006): 343–438.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Exhaustive analysis of late-20th- and early-21st-century editions of texts and letters and of related works with forceful evaluations.

    Find this resource:

  • Swearingen, Roger G. “Recent Studies in Robert Louis Stevenson.” Dickens Studies Annual 38 (2007): 205–298.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critique of biographies and criticism.

    Find this resource:

Reference Works

Stevenson has been underrepresented in reference works. Only in 2008 did any of his writing appear in the Norton Anthology of Victorian Literature. Mehew 2004 (cited under General Overviews) is best on Stevenson’s life and works. Birch 2009 notes the impact of late-20th- and early-21st-century criticism, and Sanders 2004 evaluates the relationship between Scotland and Stevenson’s fiction. Penny Fielding’s general essay (Fielding 2007) is reinforced by references to Stevenson in other essays in the volume. Arata 2007 usefully locates Stevenson in a fin-de-siècle context. Hart 1988 reflects an earlier stage of Stevenson criticism, while Gifford, et al. 2002 is directed at undergraduates.

  • Arata, Stephen. “Realism.” In The Cambridge Companion to the Fin de Siècle. Edited by Gail Marshall, 169–188. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

    DOI: 10.1017/CCOL9780521850636Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Construes Oscar Wilde and Stevenson as committed antirealists moving toward modernist ideas on art. Includes discussion of “A Humble Remonstrance.”

    Find this resource:

  • Birch, Dinah. “Robert Louis Stevenson.” In The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Edited by Dinah Birch, 953–954. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Concise and insightful entry that acknowledges the growth of Stevenson’s critical reputation. There are separate short entries on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Kidnapped, The Master of Ballantrae, Treasure Island, and Weir of Hermiston, though not on South Seas fiction. Also available online for purchase or by subscription.

    Find this resource:

  • Fielding, Penny. “Robert Louis Stevenson.” In The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature. Vol. 2, Enlightenment, Britain, and Empire (1707–1918). Edited by Ian Brown, Thomas Owen Clancy, Susan Manning, and Murray Pittock, 324–330. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Nuanced reading of Stevenson’s oeuvre situating it in relation to scientific ideas, literary networks, and intellectual developments. Wide-ranging discussion with apt attention to Stevenson’s poems. Also features chapters on Stevenson’s travel writing, juvenile fiction, and Scottish thought.

    Find this resource:

  • Gifford, Douglas, Sarah Dunnigan, and Alan MacGillivray. “Robert Louis Stevenson: The Merry Men, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and The Master of Ballantrae.” In Scottish Literature. By Douglas Gifford, Sarah Dunnigan, and Alan MacGillivray, 402–434. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Book aimed at the undergraduate and high school markets. Substantial section on Stevenson but covers only selected texts.

    Find this resource:

  • Hart, Francis R. “Robert Louis Stevenson in Prose.” In History of Scottish Literature. Vol. 3, Nineteenth Century. Edited by Douglas Gifford, 291–308. Aberdeen, UK: Aberdeen University Press, 1988.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines biographical and critical issues around “placing” different kinds of Stevenson’s works.

    Find this resource:

  • Sanders, Andrew. “Late Victorian and Edwardian Literature, 1880–1920.” In The Short Oxford History of English Literature. 3d ed. By Andrew Sanders, 465–513. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Includes Stevenson under “Late Victorian and Edwardian Literature,” suggesting that Stevenson’s work is far from parochial and most interesting when looking sideways at Scotland.

    Find this resource:

Biography

Stevenson has consistently attracted the attention of biographers interested in the journey from Scotland to Samoa, his ability to attract friends and devotees, a difficult relationship with his family in Edinburgh, the dynamics of his marriage, and the vagaries of his health. Memoirs of Stevenson were popular shortly after his death and continue to thrive. Much biographical attention was directed upon his wife and friends and the Stevenson family. A more recent autobiographical industry focuses on tracing Stevenson’s footsteps or creating fantasies of his life. A comprehensive list of biographies is at the RLS Website. Swearingen 2007 (cited under Bibliographies: Critical) lists and critiques biographies from 1970 to 2005. Mehew 2004 (cited under General Overviews) is an excellent introduction.

General

Balfour 1901 (accused by W. E. Henley of depicting Stevenson as an unrecognizable “seraph in chocolate”) presents a valuable contemporary account that later versions built upon. By the mid-20th century, the best biographies explored both the life and writing. Furnas 1951 set the standard through its sources and perception. Calder 1980 offers a reliable and careful account based on the material available. Bell 1992 addresses the Scottish dimension with confidence. McLynn 1993 takes a more controversially psychological approach. Publication of the Yale University Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson (Booth and Mehew 1994–1995, cited under Letters) provided significant new material. Harman 2005 is the first significant subsequent account. Le Bris 1994 is an accessible account of the first half of Stevenson’s life, while Gray 2004 integrates biographical and literary analysis. Key issues for all biographies are Stevenson’s relationship with his Edinburgh upbringing; the dynamics of his marriage; his quarrel with Henley over the implication that Stevenson’s wife, Fanny, plagiarized a story written by Stevenson’s cousin; life in Samoa; and the changing state of his health.

Related Lives and Memoirs

Stevenson’s charismatic personality encouraged numerous anthologies of memoir. Masson 1922 represents an early example, and Terry 1996 a later continuation of form. His exotic life sustained interest in those around him, particularly his wife. Lapierre 1995 is a romanticized biography; Jolly 2004 is an illuminating analysis of Fanny’s experiences in Samoa. Low 1908 gives a sense of bohemian communities in Barbizon and Paris. Bathurst 1999 delineates the wider family context.

In Stevenson’s Footsteps

This area of study has become a subgenre in itself. Details of travels, following his route for Travels with a Donkey but also across Scotland—and, in the immediate years after his death, in the South Seas—are available on the RLS Website. Holmes 1995 examines and establishes some of the conventions of the genre. Nimmo 2005 is a lively instance of a Scottish journey. Rankin 1987 brings together a range of experiences and locations. Le Maître 2004 is an example of visual engagement.

Primary Materials

Stevenson’s writings are readily available in both single volumes and collected editions. His early popularity ensures that his work is always well represented in secondhand bookshops and in libraries. Editions of his most popular works continue to appear, but their quality and reliability are less secure. In the first thirty years after his death, an impressive number of Collected Works appeared, but it is only in the early 21st century that scholarly research has reinvigorated this project. Only in the early 21st century too have his Letters appeared in full and annotated form. While some of his Poetry has been consistently available, good editions of it all have been fewer and more problematic. His Essays and Travel Writing have been even patchier in publication and editorial attention. The most popular Fiction has been widely accessible, but again this has not guaranteed good scholarly editions.

Collected Works

The collecting and editing of Stevenson’s works constitutes a subject in itself. As Nash 2003 suggests, the six editions in thirty years after his death is a remarkable number both as strategically limited collections and as collaborations between four publishing houses. Although the first Edinburgh edition (Colvin 1894–1898) aimed at financial reward, an increasingly important ambition was reinforcing Stevenson’s cultural position through limited, luxurious editions, suggesting the status of a writer such as Sir Walter Scott. Stevenson’s death during the compilation of the Edinburgh edition and editors who ignored his requests for organization and exclusion of material mean that these editions (frequently held in public libraries because of high quality and limited numbers) are controversial and were regarded as unreliable. Colvin 1894–1898 is significant for its editorial process and debates over contents in which Stevenson was to an extent involved. The attractive Tusitala edition (Osbourne and van der Grift Stevenson 1923–1924), the best complete edition from the early period and the most frequently used edition to reference criticism, is relatively easy to obtain in libraries and secondhand bookshops. There was a significant hiatus in the publication of collected editions from the 1930s, as Stevenson’s reputation diminished. The resurgence of interest in his work led to the Edinburgh centenary edition (Kerrigan 1995–2004), which remained incomplete after the publication of five volumes. (For mixed reviews of these volumes, see Swearingen 2006, cited under Bibliographies: Critical.) A new Edinburgh edition is slated for 2012. Menikoff 2009 is a reprint of the Tusitala edition with additions.

  • Colvin, Sidney, ed. The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson. Edinburgh ed. Edinburgh: Constable, 1894–1898.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    First limited collected edition, high-quality collaboration between publishing houses. Includes juvenilia that Stevenson wanted omitted and did not follow his favored organization of material. Supplementary volumes published from 1896 to collect everything written. The Pentland and Swanston editions follow the Edinburgh edition.

    Find this resource:

  • Kerrigan, Catherine, ed. The Collected Works of Robert Louis Stevenson: The Centenary Edition. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1995–2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Attempt to rescue Stevenson’s work from earlier editorial interventions and to produce the first scholarly edition with annotations and textual essays. Includes Treasure Island, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Weir of Hermiston, The Ebb-Tide, and Collected Poems. Some were better received than others, and the chronology used throughout has been criticized for inaccuracies.

    Find this resource:

  • Menikoff, Barry, ed. The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reprint of the Tusitala edition with reset typography in thirty-five paperback volumes. Contains a general introduction by Barry Menikoff. Volume 13 contains “The Beach of Falesá” in the Tusitala version and Menikoff’s manuscript-based 1987 edition.

    Find this resource:

  • Nash, Andrew. “‘The Dead Should Be Protected from Their Own Carelessness’: The Collected Editions of Robert Louis Stevenson.” In The Culture of Collected Editions. Edited By Andrew Nash, 111–127. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analysis of the history and significance of these editions.

    Find this resource:

  • Osbourne, Lloyd, and Fanny van der Grift Stevenson, eds. The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson. London: Heinemann, 1923–1924.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Includes prefatory notes by Fanny Stevenson and biographical essays by Lloyd Osbourne. Standard and attractive edition for the 20th century. The Skerryvore edition was the more expensive version.

    Find this resource:

Letters

For many years the only source, apart from archives, of Stevenson’s many and lively letters was Colvin 1899, heavily edited and the basis of the Edinburgh edition (Colvin 1894–1898, cited under Collected Works), slightly augmented, in the Tusitala edition (Osbourne and van der Grift Stevenson 1923–1924, cited under Collected Works) and subsequent editions. Two important dialogues (with Henry James and Charles Baxter) are collected in Smith 1948 and Ferguson and Waingrow 1956, respectively. The illuminating letters of W. E. Henly have been edited in Atkinson 2000. Stevenson studies were transformed by the publication of Booth and Mehew 1994–1995, a magnificent collection that was the product of over twenty-five years of scholarship. Mehew 1997, selected from this, gives an excellent overview of Stevenson’s career, ideas, friendships, and travels.

  • Atkinson, Damian, ed. The Selected Letters of W. E. Henley. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Full introduction and chronology. Contains around 250 letters from over 2,300 known to exist. Shows Henley’s literary networks and demonstrates, in their vigor, his attraction for Stevenson.

    Find this resource:

  • Booth, Bradford, and Ernest Mehew, eds. The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1994–1995.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Invaluable resource not only for the letters but also for insightful biographical commentary and splendid, always relevant annotations on 2,800 letters.

    Find this resource:

  • Colvin, Sidney, ed. The Letters of Robert Louis to His Family and Friends. 2 vols. London: Methuen, 1899.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Selected, censored, and edited by Sir Sidney Colvin. Forms the basis of letters included in various collected works. Colvin saw these letters as appropriately representative of the time. Helps one understand earlier biographers without access to all the letters.

    Find this resource:

  • Ferguson, DeLancy, and Marshall Waingrow, eds. RLS: Stevenson’s Letters to Charles Baxter. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1956.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Predominantly Stevenson’s letters but fifty from Baxter. Gives a sense of the correspondence Stevenson enjoyed with a friend from his Edinburgh youth and who was his legal adviser later on. Includes letters written under the guise of “Thamson” and “Johnstone” claimed as some of the frankest Stevenson ever wrote.

    Find this resource:

  • Mehew, Ernest, ed. Selected Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Selected as representative groups of letters from different periods of his life. Division of 318 letters into fifteen sections provides a significant, highly reliable biographical overview.

    Find this resource:

  • Smith, Janet Adam. Henry James and Robert Louis Stevenson: A Record of Friendship and Criticism. London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1948.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Two-sided correspondence of a significant literary exchange and friendship.

    Find this resource:

Poetry

Stevenson published A Child’s Garden of Verses, Underwoods, and Ballads in his lifetime. Songs of Travel consists of collected material sent back to England before his death. The first of these is the most republished. A further collection, taken from manuscript fragments but with no evidence of Stevenson’s intention to publish, was produced in 1916–1921, inexpertly edited by George Hellman and more accurately by Lloyd Osbourne as New Poems (1918). The publication of light verse and drafts not intended for publication has divided subsequent editors. Smith 1950 is excellent, leading to significant reevaluation. Lewis 2003 is a fuller collection but more controversial. Calder 1998 is an accessible teaching edition.

Travel Writing

Stevenson’s travel writing covers journeys in Scotland, France, America, and the South Seas. The most illuminating collections are those that focus on specific areas. Hubbard and Glen 2003 focuses on Scotland, Sanger 1991 on French travels, Hart 1966 on American writings, and Rennie 1998 on the South Seas.

Essays

Stevenson was a prolific essayist, and Treglown 1988 gives a sense of his range. Scottish essays are included in Gelder 1989. His literary essays have received increased critical attention. Norquay 1999 argues for their significant theorizing of fiction making and reading. Meleisea 2011 provides access to text seen as increasingly important in nonfiction writing.

Fiction

There have been many individual editions from Stevenson’s oeuvre. Much of his work was published first in magazines, then in book form. The particular dynamics of production in the later years were problematic, with Stevenson increasingly at a distance from publishing centers and inevitably dependent on friends, such as Sidney Colvin and Charles Baxter, for editorial and negotiating tasks. His family was involved in posthumous publications, which complicates many texts, making the copy text frequently less than obvious. Menikoff 1984 (cited under Novellas) and Menikoff 1999 (cited under Novels) insist on the superiority of the manuscript version; others argue that Stevenson may have been involved in subsequent corrections. For details of the textual production, see Swearingen 1980 (cited under Bibliographies); for evaluative assessment of 20th- and 21st-century editions, see Swearingen 2006 (cited under Bibliographies: Critical). The RLS Website (cited under Bibliographies) has full listings.

Novellas

Two novellas best indicate debates around Stevenson’s texts The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and “The Beach of Falesá.” The best-known work, Jekyll and Hyde, is available in many editions. Dury 2004 is precise, accurate, and well annotated, drawing on previous debates highlighted by Veeder and Hirsch 1988 (cited under The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde). Dury 2005 is more fully in dialogue with the text. Linehan 2003 is a good undergraduate edition, while Danahay 1999 provides a range of contextual material. Menikoff 1984 is a groundbreaking edition of “The Beach of Falesá” situating Stevenson in the context of Victorian publishing.

  • Danahay, Martin, ed. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Peterborough, Canada: Broadview, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Teaching edition with good contextual and critical material. Includes other relevant writing by Stevenson. Has been criticized for errors in biographical information.

    Find this resource:

  • Dury, Richard, ed. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Well-received centenary edition thoroughly and carefully annotated and building on Dury’s extensive work on the manuscript and adding new information on publication. The fullest and most scholarly edition.

    Find this resource:

  • Dury, Richard, ed. The Annotated Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. 2d ed. Genoa, Italy: Edizioni Culturali Internazionali Genova, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Contains a lengthy introduction and detailed notes. Appendix on derivative works: fiction, film and stage, music, comic books and graphic novels, and video games. Bibliographies include an annotated checklist of Jekyll and Hyde criticism 1993–2004; extensive bibliography in English and other languages. Notes are both textual and interpretative, creating a “dialogue” effect.

    Find this resource:

  • Linehan, Katherine, ed. Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. New York: Norton, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    First appearance of Stevenson in the Norton Critical Edition series. Includes background and contexts, material on production and reception, excerpts from various critical interpretations, scientific contexts, performances and adaptations, chronology, and a good range of textual variants. Scholarly but also a useful teaching edition.

    Find this resource:

  • Menikoff, Barry. Robert Louis Stevenson and “The Beach of Falesá”: A Study in Victorian Publishing. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1984.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Based on a manuscript fair copy; important in its contextualization of the process from manuscript to print. Includes a substantial essay examining changes in both substantives and accidentals, arguing that this version offers greater realism and more ambiguity than the original publication. Fascinating study of the world in which Stevenson published.

    Find this resource:

Short Stories

Collections of short stories demonstrate Stevenson’s diversity. Gelder 1989 focuses on Scotland. Jolly 2008 is a historically informative introduction to Stevenson’s South Seas work. Bell 1993 presents a wider selection but less information. Menikoff 2002 is a fairly eclectic selection but includes The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Novels

There are surprisingly few scholarly editions of the novels. Treasure Island is one of the few texts where good scholarly and teaching editions are available. Katz 1998 is detailed on both the text and its history, while Hunt 2011 is an excellent undergraduate edition. The most illuminating illustrated edition is that illustrated by Mervyn Peake: Stevenson 1976. The textual debate around Kidnapped focuses on the extent of changes made to Stevenson’s use of Scots. Menikoff 1999 demonstrates an insistence on the manuscript as copy text in Kidnapped. Letley 1986 is a good teaching edition. There is no full scholarly edition of The Master of Ballantrae, although Letley 1983 and Jumeau 2000 are useful versions in English and French, respectively. Kerrigan 1995 is controversial. Hinchcliffe and Kerrigan 1995 is the only scholarly edition of The Ebb-Tide.

Criticism

Following a critical backlash against Stevenson in the early 20th century, studies tended toward defensive positions, often focusing on a single topic. Since the 1990s, attention is wider ranging, reading Stevenson in terms of imperialism, gender and sexuality, and literary theory. He has been situated within wider Scottish contexts and within adventure and imperialist genres, making the connections between the Scottish and South Seas fiction more evident, read as a precursor of modernism, and used to theorize popular fiction and literary consumption. The playing out of scientific developments in his fiction and his relationship to modes of the gothic have further extended the cultural contexts his work is placed in. Late-20th- and early-21st-century interest in postcolonial writing has likewise attracted further attention to this South Seas fiction, perhaps one of the liveliest areas of research. The many useful collections of essays available demonstrate the growth of critical interest, as does the Journal of Stevenson Studies (cited under General Overviews). Inevitably some works have received more attention than others. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is by far the most discussed; Treasure Island also features strongly. Discussions of Kidnapped, The Master of Ballantrae, and Weir of Hermiston feature in almost all general studies, and the South Seas fiction is receiving greater attention. For guides through the body of critical work, see the RLS Website (cited under Bibliographies) and Swearingen 2007 and Niederhoff 2005 (both cited under Bibliographies: Critical).

General Criticism

Early studies, apart from Daiches 1947 (cited under General Overviews), present themselves as interventions in a critically neglected field (see Saposnik 1974, cited under General Overviews) or concentrate on a single aspect, for example, Kiely 1964, Eigner 1966, and Naugrette 1987, which focus on major novels. Late-20th- and early-21st-century monographs have considered critically neglected areas of Stevenson’s oeuvre, drawing upon interdisciplinary approaches and critical theory. Reid 2006 is an important assessment of science and anthropological thinking. Norquay 2007 presents an analysis of Stevenson’s theorization of textual consumption as inflected by his upbringing and cultural context. Buckton 2007 and Jolly 2009 demonstrate the increasingly sophisticated reading of Stevenson’s South Seas fiction, exploring motifs that traverse his earlier and later writing.

  • Buckton, Oliver S. Cruising with Robert Louis Stevenson: Travel, Narrative, and the Colonial Body. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Wide-ranging deployment of the “cruising image” in terms of transformations effected through different kinds of “travel.” Argues that later novels are informed by personal and wider politics of his Samoan context. Densely argued and stimulating.

    Find this resource:

  • Eigner, Edwin M. Robert Louis Stevenson and Romantic Tradition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1966.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Uses romance as a unifying element in Stevenson’s oeuvre. Situates his use of doubles within romance tradition.

    Find this resource:

  • Jolly, Roslyn. Robert Louis Stevenson in the Pacific: Travel, Empire, and the Author’s Profession. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Depicts the authorial persona as a lawyer and historian, reconfiguring historical patterns through comparison of Scotland and Samoa’s colonial histories. Reinforces Reid 2006 on ethnography. Illuminating readings across fiction, letters, and political writings on Samoa.

    Find this resource:

  • Kiely, Robert. Robert Louis Stevenson and the Fiction of Adventure. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1964.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Influential early study. Sees Stevenson’s literary career as moving from romance to realism. Traces the adventure motif in the range of novels but also finds recurring patterns of adventure in other writings. Covers all major novels.

    Find this resource:

  • Naugrette, Jean-Pierre. Robert Louis Stevenson: L’aventure et son double. Paris: Presses de l’École Normal Supérieure, 1987.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    General, lively study by France’s leading Stevensonian. Thematically organized around ideas of the double and the use of quest/adventure.

    Find this resource:

  • Norquay, Glenda. Robert Louis Stevenson and Theories of Reading: The Reader as Vagabond. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Concentrates on essays and selected fiction, arguing that Stevenson drew upon and against Calvinist thinking on art to become a significant analyst of literary consumption in his time, anticipating later thinking on reading dynamics.

    Find this resource:

  • Reid, Julia. Robert Louis Stevenson, Science, and the Fin de Siècle. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230554849Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Major study reshaping the understanding of Stevenson’s relationship to evolutionary anthropology and psychology. Reevaluates his theories of romance, degeneration, and the relationship between Scottish and Samoan writing.

    Find this resource:

  • Sandison, Alan. Robert Louis Stevenson and the Appearance of Modernism: A Future Feeling. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 1996.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230376397Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Illuminating demonstration of protomodernist techniques in a range of works. Based on an understanding of his life and work as a crisis of paternity.

    Find this resource:

Edited Collections

Fielding 2010 (cited under General Overviews) is a good general introduction covering all genres. Calder 1981 includes important essays. Noble 1983 reflects the defensiveness of earlier approaches. Ambrosini and Dury 2006; Jones 2003; and Dryden, et al. 2009 represent major conferences. Liebregts and Tigges 1996 gains force by its juxtapositions of different writers from the late 19th century.

  • Ambrosini, Richard, and Richard Dury, eds. Robert Louis Stevenson: Writer of Boundaries. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Important collection from a conference that defined subsequent areas of research on the South Seas fiction as well as the relationship to popular culture, gender and sexuality, science, and cultural crossings. Significant essays by Stephen Arata, Oliver S. Buckton, Dennis Denisoff, Stephen Donovan, Lix Farr, Wendy R. Katz, Caroline McCracken-Flesher, and Julia Reid Robert.

    Find this resource:

  • Calder, Jenni, ed. Stevenson and Victorian Scotland. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1981.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Small but useful volume containing a number of significant essays, including Douglas Gifford on The Master of Ballantrae and Christopher Harvie on Stevenson’s politics. See Gifford 1981 and Harvie 1981 (both cited under Scottish Contexts).

    Find this resource:

  • Dryden, Linda, Stephen Arata, and Eric Massie, eds. Robert Louis Stevenson and Joseph Conrad: Writers of Transition. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Essays from a conference exploring shared heritage, imperial skepticism, and the “will to modernism” of Conrad and Stevenson. Includes significant essays by Richard Ambrosini, Nathalie Jaëck, and Robert Hampson.

    Find this resource:

  • Jones, William B., ed. Robert Louis Stevenson Reconsidered: New Critical Perspectives. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Essays from a 2000 conference that include work subsequently developed in individual studies, such as Katherine Bailey Linehan and Richard Dury on The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and important essays on A Child’s Garden of Verses (Ann C. Colley) and Stevenson as a popular author (Richard Ambrosini).

    Find this resource:

  • Liebregts, Peter, and Wim Tigges, eds. Beauty and the Beast: Christina Rossetti, Walter Pater, R. L. Stevenson, and Their Contemporaries. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1996.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Commemorates writers who died in 1894. Essays on Stevenson, Pater, and George Moore and on the relationship with other European authors. Alblas 1996 (cited under Bibliographies: Critical) reviews editions and translations.

    Find this resource:

  • Noble, Andrew, ed. Robert Louis Stevenson. London: Vision, 1983.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Influential early collection characterized by a certain defensiveness. Key essays here are Kenneth Graham on Stevenson and Henry James, Andrew Noble on Highland history, and Peter Gilmour on forms of evasion in the South Seas fiction.

    Find this resource:

Scottish Contexts

Stevenson’s engagement with his Scottish upbringing, Scottish literature, and exile from Scotland is one of the most discussed critical fields. Gifford 1981 argues for the wider importance of his fiction. Menikoff 2005 is a major analysis of his understanding of Scottish history, also considered in Cowan 1999. Fielding 1996 is on his deployment of Scots. Norquay 2007 (cited under General Criticism) situates his analysis of reading in the context of Calvinist influences. McCracken-Flesher 1999 employs a postcolonial approach. Harvie 1981 addresses his politics. Wickman 2007 is a theoretically ambitious situating of Stevenson in relation to Sir Walter Scott and the Highlands.

  • Cowan, Edward J. “‘Intent upon My Own Race and Place I Wrote’: Robert Louis Stevenson and Scottish History.” In The Polar Twins. Edited by Edward J. Cowan and Douglas Gifford. Edinburgh: John Donald, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Focuses on engagement with covenanting history.

    Find this resource:

  • Fielding, Penny. Writing and Orality: Nationality, Culture, and Nineteenth-Century Scottish Fiction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Wide ranging and ambitious, this looks at uses of orality in organizing cultural and aesthetic experiences. Discusses Stevenson’s The Master of Ballantrae and Weir of Hermiston. One of the most searching studies of Stevenson’s use of Scots.

    Find this resource:

  • Gifford, Douglas. “Stevenson and Victorian Fiction: The Importance of The Master of Ballantrae.” In Stevenson and Victorian Scotland. Edited by Jenni Calder, 62–87. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1981.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reads Master as a romantic and symbolic novel, situating it alongside English and Scottish fiction.

    Find this resource:

  • Harvie, Christopher. “The Politics of Stevenson.” In Stevenson and Victorian Scotland. Edited by Jenni Calder, 107–125. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1981.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    One of the few direct considerations of Stevenson’s politics, suggesting that although his reputation is liberal, he was “logically conservative.”

    Find this resource:

  • McCracken-Flesher, Caroline. “Thinking Nationally/Writing Colonially? Scott, Stevenson, and England.” Novel 24.3 (Spring 1999): 296–318.

    DOI: 10.2307/1345940Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Postcolonial approach contrasting Scott with Stevenson’s use of narrative instability arising from England’s intrusion into Scottish culture and his reaccessing of doctrinal Calvinism.

    Find this resource:

  • Menikoff, Barry. Narrating Scotland: The Imagination of Robert Louis Stevenson. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores Stevenson’s use of historical and legal training to explore the country’s past. Traces the scholarship that went into Kidnapped and David Balfour, books not written for scholarly audiences.

    Find this resource:

  • Wickman, Matthew. The Ruins of Experience: Scotland’s “Romantic” Highlands and the Birth of the Modern Witness. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Wide-ranging, philosophically ambitious, and sophisticated analysis of representations of the Highlands. Relates Stevenson’s deployment of narrative instability to Walter Benjamin.

    Find this resource:

Adventure and Imperialism

Stevenson’s use of the adventure genre, discussed in terms of romance (see Eigner 1966, cited under General Criticism, and Fowler 1979) has more recently been read through postcolonial perspectives in terms of the politics of imperialism; see Bristow 1991 and Kucich 2007. Smith 1998 and Colley 2004 represent interdisciplinary engagements with Stevenson’s activities in the South Seas. Dryden, et al. 2009 (cited under Edited Collections) offers useful comparisons with Joseph Conrad. Hillier 1989 is an earlier survey of the South Seas fiction. Jolly 2007 is a fascinating insight into implications of the Stevensons’ travels. Some of the liveliest debates and newest research in Stevenson studies are taking place in this area.

  • Bristow, Joe. Empire Boys: Adventures in a Man’s World. London: HarperCollins Academic, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Significant revaluation of the adventure genre as a construction of masculinities and empire. Includes Treasure Island in a discussion of an obsessive focus on boyhood in a range of imperial adventures but suggests that this romance collapses under the brutal realism of Samoa.

    Find this resource:

  • Colley, Ann C. Robert Louis Stevenson and the Colonial Imagination. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Draws on extensive research on the London Missionary Society to gain a fuller sense of Stevenson’s struggles with personal and cultural identity. Examines the missionary culture surrounding him and presents an analysis of photographs, colonial memory, Stevenson’s dress, and literary/textual exchanges.

    Find this resource:

  • Fowler, Alastair. “Parables of Adventure: The Debatable Novels of Robert Louis Stevenson.” In Nineteenth-Century Scottish Fiction: Critical Essays. Edited by Ian Campbell, 105–129. Manchester, UK: Carcanet, 1979.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Important essay staking a claim for Stevenson’s forms of narration to be taken seriously and presenting a stylistic search for simplicity in his last years. Views The Ebb-Tide as anticipating Joseph Conrad.

    Find this resource:

  • Hillier, R. I. The South Seas Fiction of Robert Louis Stevenson. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1989.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Early assertion of the importance of the South Seas writings. Includes a chapter on each of three main fictional works from the period—The Wrecker, The Ebb Tide, and “The Beach of Falesá”—and travel writing. Lacks a wider theoretical framework of later studies but good on language. Stresses the realism of the South Seas writing.

    Find this resource:

  • Jolly, Roslyn. “Women’s Trading in Fanny Stevenson’s The Cruise of the Janet Nichol.” In Economies of Representation 1790–2000: Colonialism and Commerce. Edited by Leigh Dale and Helen Gilbert, 143–156. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analysis of the differences between gift giving and trade as articulated in Fanny’s account of the South Seas travels.

    Find this resource:

  • Kucich, John. Imperial Masochism: British Fiction, Fantasy, and Social Class. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Masochistic fantasy enabled Stevenson to resolve in a colonial context ideological contractions that were at the heart of his own class identity and use middle-class moral masochism to support his anti-imperialist activities. Looks at splitting in the Scottish novels before the South Seas fiction; considers A Footnote to History and The Ebb-Tide.

    Find this resource:

  • Smith, Vanessa. Literary Culture and the Pacific: Nineteenth-Century Textual Encounters. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Rich and innovative study of exchanges between Europeans and South Seas inhabitants centering on the transmission of textuality. Substantial discussion of Stevenson.

    Find this resource:

Gender and Sexuality

This is the area of biggest transformation in Stevenson criticism. Masculinity, homosexuality, and the dynamics of marriage are central themes, with critical debate concentrating on The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and New Arabian Nights. General studies featuring Stevenson include Sedgwick 2008 and Halberstam 1995. Buckton 2007 elaborates debates raised by Koestenbaum 1989. Menikoff 1990 and Linehan 1997 defend Stevenson’s understanding of women. Buckton 2007 extends and expands dynamics of gender, sexuality, and empire through the use of “cruising.” Honkaer 2001 is more critical. Farr 2005 offers an aesthetic interpretation.

  • Buckton, Oliver S. Cruising with Robert Louis Stevenson: Travel, Narrative, and the Colonial Body. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Develops and refines Wayne Koestenbaum’s use of “cruising” through detailed readings of a range of texts. Addresses sexuality but also the colonial context of later writings.

    Find this resource:

  • Farr, Liz. “‘Surpassing the Love of Women’: Robert Louis Stevenson and the Pleasures of Boy-Loving.” Journal of Stevenson Studies 2 (2005): 140–160.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues against reductive models of interpreting Stevenson’s relationship with Lloyd Osbourne, suggesting that his aesthetic rather than sexual investment in the figure of the child is revealing of constructions of 19th-century masculinity.

    Find this resource:

  • Halberstam, Judith. Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    History of subject formation within the gothic narrative; reads doubling in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as a sign of buried sexuality.

    Find this resource:

  • Honaker, Lisa. “The Revisionary Role of Gender in R. L. Stevenson’s New Arabian Nights and Prince Otto: Revolution in a ‘Poison Bad World.’” English Literature in Transition 44.3 (2001): 297–319.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    While Stevenson experiments with gender and genre, he ultimately advocates, even if by default, hierarchical gender relations. Texts show that domesticity must be overthrown before romance and manhood are possible.

    Find this resource:

  • Koestenbaum, Wayne. Double Talk: The Erotics of Male Literary Collaboration. London: Routledge, 1989.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provocative attempt to situate Stevenson within male collaborations in which writers use romance as male fantasy and a means of separating homoeroticism through their sanctioned male bonding. Extended discussion of creative collaborations with Lloyd Osbourne.

    Find this resource:

  • Linehan, Katherine. “Revaluing Women and Marriage in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Short Fiction.” English Literature in Transition 40.1 (1997): 34–59.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Opposes the view of Stevenson as a male-centered author who cannot handle female characters. Stevenson’s carefree attitude to male fellowship and dominance of masculine perspectives in narratives contends with the concern to address relations between the sexes with maturity.

    Find this resource:

  • Menikoff, Barry. “New Arabian Nights: Stevenson’s Experiments in Fiction.” Nineteenth-Century Literature 45.3 (1990): 339–362.

    DOI: 10.2307/3045016Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that Stevenson’s texts are always experimental, buttressed by the debate sustained in his public essays and private letters about the practice of fiction. Suggests that romantic love is one of his most persistent subjects, undergoing little alteration over his career.

    Find this resource:

  • Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. The Epistemology of the Closet. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Drug addiction in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde becomes a camouflage and an expression of same-sex desire. Containing only passing reference to Stevenson, Sedgwick’s analysis, updated from the 1990 edition, of representations of homosexuality had a significant effect on Stevenson’s criticism.

    Find this resource:

Modernism

This is another area of critical shift, claiming experimental elements in Stevenson’s writing. Sandison 1996 is the most significant and developed study. Clunas 1981 is one of a number of articles in which postmodernist readings are on offer; Lumsden 1993 makes similar claims. Walker 2007 offers contextualization through an analysis of spatial engagements.

Cultural Contexts

Stevenson is situated within fin-de-siècle engagements with degeneration in Arata 1996. For science-related discussions, see Reid 2006, and for debates on literary hierarchies, see Norquay 2007 (both cited under General Criticism). Stevenson’s relationship with the emergence of a mass market is dealt with in Stewart 1996 and Brantlinger 1998. Stevenson’s work in relation to popular culture is discussed in Ambrosini 2001. Stevenson’s relationship to the gothic, which has reinvigorated 21st-century criticism, is most specifically explored in criticism of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde; see Punter 1996, cited under The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, for an early example.

Poetry

Stevenson’s poetry has received relatively little critical attention, although introductions to editions are helpful, especially Smith 1950 (cited under Primary Materials: Poetry). Fielding 2010 offers a good introduction. Colley 1998 is a perceptive analysis of A Child’s Garden of Verses.

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

This is the most debated of Stevenson’s texts. Starting points are the groundbreaking essays in Veeder and Hirsch 1988 and Dury 2004 (the latter cited under Novellas). Arata 1996 gives the context of intellectual currents. Punter 1996 situates the novella within the gothic. Dryden 2003 contextualizes the work in a geographic sense. Showalter 1991 and Heath 1986 offer differing psychoanalytic interpretations. Most edited collections include an essay on the novella, as does the Journal of Stevenson Studies (cited under General Overviews). Fore 2010 gives a sense of the continuing range of interpretations.

  • Arata, Stephen. Fictions of Loss in the Victorian Fin de Siècle. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511553585Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Chapter 2 contains an extensive study of the novella, arguing that late-19th-century concerns over atavism are situated in relation to practices of professional men. Relates it also to debates over realism and authorial professionalism.

    Find this resource:

  • Dryden, Linda. The Modern Gothic and Literary Doubles: Stevenson, Wilde, and Wells. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230006126Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Particular focus on the geographies of London with an emphasis on the urban gothic as a meeting place of the authors under consideration. Includes a chapter-length study of Jekyll and Hyde reading London as a Janus-faced metropolis.

    Find this resource:

  • Fore, Dana. “Snatching Identity: ‘Passing’ and Disabled Monstrosity in Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde and ‘The Body Snatcher.’” Journal of Stevenson Studies 7 (2010): 33–54.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An innovative reading of the novel that explores Stevenson’s relationship with his own ill health and the notion of “passing” as manifested by the dynamics between Jekyll and Hyde.

    Find this resource:

  • Heath, Stephen. “Psychopathia Sexualis: Stevenson’s Strange Case.” Critical Studies Quarterly 28 (1986): 93–108.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Essay focuses on the enclosed masculine world and the silences within the novella’s narrative, reading it as symptomatic of the difficulty of writing perversion. Links it with Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis (1886) and with Sigmund Freud’s later work.

    Find this resource:

  • Punter, David. The Literature of Terror. Vol. 2, The Modern Gothic. 2d ed. London: Longman, 1996.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Links Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, H. G. Wells, Bram Stoker, and Arthur Machen under the umbrella of gothic decadence.

    Find this resource:

  • Showalter, Elaine. Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siècle. London: Bloomsbury, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Influential chapter “Dr Jekyll’s Closet” reads the text as a case study of male hysteria and a fable of homosexual panic.

    Find this resource:

  • Veeder, William, and Gordon Hirsch, eds. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde after One Hundred Years. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Theoretically informed reshaping of critical approaches. Includes significant discussions by Veeder of manuscript drafts. Essays situate Jekyll and Hyde in relation to detective and science fiction, mass readership, and the theory of Julia Kristeva and Jacques Lacan. Veeder addresses the absence of women in the text and the idea of the professional man. Extremely influential.

    Find this resource:

Treasure Island

Treasure Island features in almost all studies of Stevenson. Sandison 1996 (cited under Modernism) is a stimulating reading of its experimentalism. Reid 2006 (cited under General Criticism) explores the changing relationship of romance and the primitive, and Norquay 2007 (cited under General Criticism) addresses the context of publication. Robson 1982 accessibly raises issues around father figures. McCulloch 2003 compares Treasure Island with other boys’ adventure fiction. Smith 2010 uses collaboration as a means of exploring child-adult dynamics. Pierce 1998 traces the novel’s publishing history.

  • McCulloch, Fiona. “‘Playing Double’: Performing Childhood in Treasure Island.” Treasure Island Scottish Studies Review 4.2 (2003): 66–97.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues for deliberate irony and playfulness in complicated child-adult imbalances and doubling of criminality and colonialism.

    Find this resource:

  • Pierce, Jason A. “The Belle-Lettrist and the People’s Publishers; or, The Context of Treasure Island’s First-Form Publication.” Victorian Periodicals Review 31.3 (1998): 356–368.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Adds significantly to our understanding of the complicated publishing history of the novel.

    Find this resource:

  • Robson, W. W. “The Sea Cook: A Study in the Art of Robert Louis Stevenson.” In The Definition of Literature and Other Essays. Edited by Wallace Robson, 79–96. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1982.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511552854.007Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Suggests that the novel is the turning point at which Stevenson’s work becomes truly adult. Examines antifather figures and mutilation, arguing that Silver establishes an ongoing dichotomy between the attractiveness of evil and the unattractiveness of good. Earlier version found in The Art of the Novel (London: Dent, 1971).

    Find this resource:

  • Smith, Victoria Ford. “Toy Presses and Treasure Maps: Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne as Collaborators.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 35.1 (Spring 2010): 26–54.

    DOI: 10.1353/chq.0.1946Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the specific dynamics of adult-child collaboration as evinced by Stevenson and his stepson as a means of exploring notions of authorship and the dynamic between the literary marketplace and the imagination.

    Find this resource:

Travel Writing

Stevenson’s travel writing has come to occupy an increasingly significant place within his oeuvre. McCracken-Flesher 2010 offers a good introduction. Clunas 1996 and Farr 2002 show theoretical possibilities in Stevenson’s travel writings. Buckton 2007 (cited under General Criticism) fully teases out cruising and travel metaphors. Pierce 2003 concentrates on an early instance of the genre.

Adaptations

Stevenson’s work—The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Treasure Island, and Kidnapped in particular—has been subject to many adaptations, translations, and reinterpretations. The best and most up-to-date guide to the range of these is Derivative Works on Robert Louis Stevenson. Nollen 1994 combines analysis of film versions with a list of published works. Fuller and Kemp 2009 offers an accessible introduction to issues concerning film adaptation. Alblas 1996 (cited under Bibliographies: Critical) is good on translation in the Netherlands. Norbert 1998 and Rose 1996 both offer details and analysis of translations and adaptations of Jekyll and Hyde. Rose transforms his account into a wider cultural exploration. Dury 2008 surveys Italian versions.

back to top

Article

Up

Down