Selected Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson - Edited by Ernest MehewNew Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1997, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Dust wrapper very slightly rubbed at the edges. Top edge of the text block tanned. Text complete, clean and tight.
Contains: Black & white drawings; Portrait to the frontispiece;
From the cover: “During his lifetime Robert Louis Stevenson was celebrated as an author in many different fields of literature. His books — most famously Treasure Island — continue to give pleasure to millions of readers throughout the world. After his death he gained a new reputation as one of our finest and most engaging letter-writers and in 1994-5, to critical acclaim, Yale University Press published an eight-volume collected edition of the letters edited by Bradford A. Booth and Ernest Mehew. Now Ernest Mehew has made an expert selection from a total of over 2800 letters to give the full flavour of Stevenson’s life and character in one volume.
This selection prints, in whole or in part, 317 letters that are representative of each period of Stevenson’s mature life. We can follow him through his Edinburgh youth and troubled relationship with his parents; his love for Frances Sitwell, a beautiful, married, older woman; trips to the Continent; and a reckless journey to California in pursuit of Fanny Osbourne, the remarkable woman who became his wife. The story of their married life together is the record of his vain search for health in many different parts of the world, culminating in their adventures in the South Seas and their life in Samoa. Here Stevenson lived in patriarchal fashion on his estate of Vailima and became passionately involved in local life.
Of the many biographies of Stevenson that exist, none tells the story of his life better than Stevenson’s own correspondence. The letters, ranging from witty and ribald mood to the serious and emotional, show his zest for living in the face of atrocious ill-health, and reveal his literary tastes and his struggles to achieve success as a writer. We see him tackling his many literary projects with tireless enthusiasm, and can follow the conception of such well-known books as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Kidnapped and A Child’s Garden of Verses through to his unfinished masterpiece, Weir of Hermiston, which he was working on the day he died. Above all, the letters show his affection for his friends. These included his cousin Bob Stevenson and the lawyer Charles Baxter from student days; Sidney Colvin, his literary mentor; W. E. Henley, his closest friend until their bitter quarrel; and fellow writer Henry James.
Enriched by Ernest Mehew’s linking narrative and annotation, this selection will delight all admirers of this favourite nineteenth-century writer.”