Monday, January 31, 2005

Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson is one of my all-time favorite authors. His tales of adventure in "Treasure Island" and "Kidnapped" thrilled me as a child. As I grew older, I was able to understand the deeper questions of humanity which are considered in “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.” While reading the Economist, I stumbled across this article which details Stevenson's life. Although it is only a short article and certainly no substitute for a biography, I found it a real interesting read. Included below is a short excerpt.

Born into a long line of obsessive and successful engineers, Stevenson quickly revolted against such a calling and was determined to be a “slinger of ink”. He spent the first half of his life as a near-invalid, ill and frail and certain he was doomed to an early death, just like Shelley. And, like Shelley, he was “toiling to leave a memory behind”. In the second half of his life—as close friends submitted to one fatal illness after another—Stevenson conceived an unlikely lust for life while touring the South Pacific, submitting to the roughest and most dangerous of conditions, but this time with barely a murmur.