Author Picture

Robert Louis Stevenson

13 November 1850

Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson in 1893 by Henry Walter Barnett

Robert Louis Stevenson in 1893 by Henry Walter Barnett
Born Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson
13 November 1850
Died 3 December 1894 (aged 44)
Vailima, Samoa
Occupation Novelist, poet, travel writer
Nationality Scottish
Citizenship United Kingdom
Education 1857 Mr. Henderson's School, Edinburgh
1857 Private tutors
1859 Return to Mr. Henderson's School
1861 Edinburgh Academy
1863 Boarding school in Isleworth, Middlesex
1864 Robert Thomson's School, Edinburgh
1867 University of Edinburgh
Period Victorian era
Notable works Treasure Island
A Child's Garden of Verses
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Spouse Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne
Relatives Thomas Stevenson (father)
Margaret Isabella Balfour (mother)

Robert Louis Stevenson (13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, musician and travel writer. His most famous works are Treasure IslandKidnappedStrange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and A Child's Garden of Verses. He was a literary celebrity during his lifetime, and now ranks as the 26th most translated author in the world.[1] His works have been admired by many other writers, including Jorge Luis BorgesBertolt BrechtMarcel ProustArthur Conan DoyleHenry JamesCesare PaveseEmilio SalgariErnest HemingwayRudyard KiplingJack LondonVladimir Nabokov,[2] J. M. Barrie,[3] and G. K. Chesterton, who said that Stevenson "seemed to pick the right word up on the point of his pen, like a man playing spillikins".[4]


Short story collections

  • New Arabian Nights (1882)
  • More New Arabian Nights: The Dynamiter (1885); co-written with Fanny Van De Grift Stevenson
  • The Merry Men and Other Tales and Fables (1887); contains 6 stories.
  • Island Nights' Entertainments (also known as South Sea Tales) (1893) contains three longer stories.
  • Fables (1896) contains 20 stories: The persons of the tale, The sinking ship, The two matches, The sick man and the fireman, The devil and the innkeeper, The penitent, The yellow paint, The house of Eld, The four reformers, The man and his friend, The reader, The citizen and the traveller, The distinguished stranger, The carthorse and the saddlehorse, The tadpole and the frog, something in it, Faith, half faith and no faith at all, The touchstone, The poor thing, The song of the morrow.
  • Tales and Fantasies, 1905, contains The Story of a LieThe Body SnatcherThe Misadventures of John Nicholson.

Short stories

List of short stories sorted chronologically. Note: does not include collaborations with Fanny found in More New Arabian Nights: The Dynamiter.

Title Date Collection Notes
"When the Devil was Well" 1875 1921, Boston Bibliophile Society
"An Old Song" 1875 Uncollected Stevenson's first Published Fiction, in London, 1877. Anonymous. Republished in 1982 by R. Swearingen.
"Edifying Letters of the Rutherford Family" 1877 Unfinished, uncollected. Not truly a short-story. First published in 1982 by R. Swearingen.
"Will O' the Mill" 1877 The Merry Men and Other Tales and Fables, 1887 First published in the Cornhill Magazine, 1878
"A Lodging for the Night" 1877 New Arabian Nights (1882) First published in Temple Bar in 1877
"The Sire De Malétroits Door" 1877 New Arabian Nights, 1882 First published in Temple Bar in 1878
"Later-day Arabian Nights" 1878 New Arabian Nights, 1882 First published in London in 1878. Seven interconnected stories in two cycles: The Suicide Club (3 stories) and The Rajah's Diamond (4 stories).
"Providence and the Guitar" 1878 New Arabian Nights, 1882 First published in London in 1878
"The Story of a Lie" 1879 The Novels and Tales of Robert Louis Stevenson, vol 3, 1895 First published in New Quarterly Magazine in 1879.
"The Pavilion on the Links" 1880 With a few suppressions in New Arabian Nights, 1882 First Published in the Cornhill Magazine in 1880. Told in 9 mini-chapters. Conan Doyle in 1890 called it the first English short story.
"Thrawn Janet" 1881 The Merry Men and Other Tales and Fables, 1887 First published in the Cornhill Magazine, 1881
"The Body Snatcher" 1881 Edinburgh Edition, 1895 First published in the Christmas 1884 edition of the Pall Mall Gazette.
"The Merry Men" 1882 With changes in The Merry Men and Other Tales and Fables, 1887 First published in the Cornhill Magazine in 1882.
"The Treasure of Franchard" 1883 The Merry Men and Other Tales and Fables, 1887 First published in Longman's Magazine, 1883
"Markheim" 1884 The Merry Men and Other Tales and Fables, 1887 First published in the Broken Shaft. Unwin's Annual., 1885
"Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" 1885 1886 Variously referred to as a short story or novella, or more rarely, a short novel.[95]
"Olalla" 1885 The Merry Men and Other Tales and Fables, 1887 First published in the Court and Society Review, 1885
"The Misadventures of John Nicholson: A Christmas Story" 1885–87 Edinburgh Edition, 1897 First published in Yule Tide, 1887
"The Bottle Imp" 1891 Island Nights' Entertainments (1893) First published in Black and White, 1891
"The Beach of Falesá" 1892 Island Nights' Entertainments (1893) First published in Illustrated London News in 1892
"The Isle of Voices" 1892 Island Nights' Entertainments (1893) First published in National Observer, 1883
"The Waif Woman" 1892 1914 First published in the Scribner's Magazine, 1914

Other works[

  • Wikisource "Béranger, Pierre Jean de". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911. — first published in the 9th edition (1875–1889).
  • Virginibus Puerisque, and Other Papers (1881), contains the essays Virginibus Puerisque i (1876); Virginibus Puerisque ii (1881); Virginibus Puerisque iii: On Falling in Love(1877); Virginibus Puerisque iv: The Truth of Intercourse (1879); Crabbed Age and Youth (1878); An Apology for Idlers (1877); Ordered South (1874); Aes Triplex (1878); El Dorado (1878); The English Admirals (1878); Some Portraits by Raeburn (previously unpublished); Child's Play (1878); Walking Tours (1876); Pan's Pipes (1878); A Plea for Gas Lamps (1878).
  • Familiar Studies of Men and Books (1882) containing Preface, by Way of Criticism (not previously published); Victor Hugo's Romances (1874); Some Aspects of Robert Burns(1879); The Gospel According to Walt Whitman (1878); Henry David Thoreau: His Character and Opinions (1880); Yoshida-Torajiro (1880); François Villon, Student, Poet, Housebreaker (1877); Charles of Orleans (1876); Samuel Pepys (1881); John Knox and his Relations to Women (1875).
  • Memories and Portraits (1887), a collection of essays.
  • On the Choice of a Profession (1887)
  • Memoir of Fleeming Jenkin (1888)
  • Father Damien: an Open Letter to the Rev. Dr. Hyde of Honolulu (1890)
  • Vailima Letters (1895)
  • The New Lighthouse on the Dhu Heartach Rock, Argyllshire (1995). Based on an 1872 manuscript edited by R. G. Swearingen. California. Silverado Museum.
  • Sophia Scarlet (2008). Based on 1892 manuscript edited by Robert Hoskins. AUT Media (AUT University).
  • Essays in the Art of Writing, 1905


  • A Child's Garden of Verses (1885), written for children but also popular with their parents. Includes such favourites as "My Shadow" and "The Lamplighter". Often thought to represent a positive reflection of the author's sickly childhood.
  • Underwoods (1887), a collection of poetry written in both English and Scots.
  • Ballads (1891), included Ticonderoga: A Legend of the West Highlands (1887). Based on a famous Scottish ghost story.
  • Songs of Travel and Other Verses (1896)
  • Poems Hitherto Unpublished, 3 vol. 1916, 1916, 1921, Boston Bibliophile Society, republished in New Poems

Travel writing

  • An Inland Voyage (1878), travels with a friend in a Rob Roy canoe from Antwerp (Belgium) to Pontoise, just north of Paris.
  • Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes (1878) - a paean to his birthplace, it provides Stevenson's personal introduction to each part of the city and some history behind the various sections of the city and its most famous buildings.
  • Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes (1879), two weeks' solo ramble (with Modestine as his beast of burden) in the mountains of Cévennes (south-central France), one of the first books to present hiking and camping as recreational activities. It tells of commissioning one of the first sleeping bags.
  • The Silverado Squatters (1883). An unconventional honeymoon trip to an abandoned mining camp in Napa Valley with his new wife Fanny and her son Lloyd. He presciently identifies the California wine industry as one to be reckoned with.
  • Across the Plains (written in 1879–80, published in 1892). Second leg of his journey, by train from New York to California (then picks up with The Silverado Squatters). Also includes other travel essays.
  • The Amateur Emigrant (written 1879–80, published 1895). An account of the first leg of his journey to California, by ship from Europe to New York. Andrew Noble (From the Clyde to California: Robert Louis Stevenson's Emigrant Journey, 1985) considers it to be his finest work.
  • The Old and New Pacific Capitals (1882). An account of his stay in Monterey, California in August to December 1879. Never published separately. See, for example, James D. Hart, ed., From Scotland to Silverado, 1966.
  • Essays of Travel (London: Chatto & Windus, 1905)

Island literature

Although not well known, his island fiction and non-fiction is among the most valuable and collected of the 19th century body of work that addresses the Pacific area.