Treasure Island (Mass Market)
Winter 2009 Kids' List
“Take a look at this magnificent new edition of one of the best adventure stories ever written. John Lawrence's hand-colored, vinyl-cut, and wood-textured illustrations richly evoke the atmosphere and drama of the one of the best adventure stories ever written in this magnificent new edition. An unusually beautiful piece of bookmaking, and a special gift for any time of the year.”
— Carol, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC
Since its publication in 1883, Treasure Island has provided an enduring literary model for such eminent writers as Anthony Hope, Graham Greene, and Jorge Luis Borges. As David Daiches wrote: “Robert Louis Stevenson transformed the Victorian boys’ adventure into a classic of its kind.”
All his life Stevenson traveled–often in a desperate quest for health. He and Fanny, having married in California and spent their honeymoon by an abandoned silver mine, traveled back to Scotland, then to Switzerland, to the South of France, to the American Adirondacks, and finally to the south of France, to the South Seas. As a novelist he was intrigued with the genius of place: Treasure Island (1883) began as a map to amuse a boy. Indeed, all his works reveal a profound sense of landscape and atmosphere: Kidnapped (1886); The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886); The Master of Ballantrae (1889).
In 1889 Stevenson’s deteriorating health exiled him to the tropics, and he settled in Samoa, where he was given patriarchal status by the natives. His health improved, yet he remained homesick for Scotland, and it was to the “cold old huddle of grey hills” of the Lowlands that he returned in his last, unfinished masterpiece, Weir of Hermiston (1896).
Stevenson dies suddenly on December 3, 1894, not of the long-feared tuberculosis, but of a cerebral hemorrhage. The kindly author of Jekyll and Hyde went down to the cellar to fetch a bottle of his favorite burgundy, uncorked it in the kitchen, abruptly cried out to his wife, “What’s the matter with me, what is this strangeness, has my face changed?”–and fell to the floor. The brilliant storyteller and master of transformations had been struck down at forty-four, at the height of his creative powers.