Originally designed as a story for boys, Stevenson's novel is narrated by the teenage Jim Hawkins, who outwits a gang of murderous pirates led by that unforgettable avatar of amorality, Long John Silver. But Treasure Island has also had a great appeal for adult readers and was admired by Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, and (reluctantly) Henry James. The story has the dreamlike quality of a fairy tale and has worked its way into the collective imagination of more than five generations of readers, gaining the power of myth. Although thoroughly British in setting and characters, Treasure Island, as John Seelye shows, has an American dimension, drawing on the author's experiences living in California, and is in no small debt to Washington Irving's ghost stories and James Fenimore Cooper's tales of adventure. This new Penguin Classics edition also includes Stevenson's own essay about the composition of Treasure Island, written just before his death.
The quintessential adventure story that first established pirates in the popular imagination, Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island is edited with an introduction by John Seelye in Penguin Classics. When a mysterious sailor dies in sinister circumstances at the Admiral Benbow inn, young Jim Hawkins stumbles across a treasure map among the dead man's possessions. But Jim soon becomes only too aware that he is not the only one who knows of the map's existence, and his bravery and cunning are tested to the full when, with his friends Squire Trelawney and Dr Livesey, he sets sail in the Hispaniola to track down the treasure. With its swift-moving plot and memorably drawn characters - Blind Pew and Black Dog, the castaway Ben Gunn and the charming but dangerous Long John Silver - Stevenson's tale of pirates, treachery and heroism was an immediate success when it was first published in 1883 and has retained its place as one of the greatest of all adventure stories. In his introduction John Seelye examines Stevenson's life and influences and the novel's place within adventure fiction. This edition also includes Stevenson's essay on the composition of Treasure Island. Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was born in Edinburgh, the son of a prosperous civil engineer. Although he began his career as an essayist and travel writer, the success of Treasure Island (1883) and Kidnapped (1886) established his reputation as a writer of tales of action and adventure. Stevenson's Calvinist upbringing lent him a preoccupation with predestination and a fascination with the presence of evil, themes he explored in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), and The Master of Ballantrae (1893). If you enjoyed Treasure Island, you might like Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, also available in Penguin Classics.
Edinburgh-born Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) began his writing career as an essayist and travel writer, but the success of TREASURE ISLAND (1883) and KIDNAPPED (1886) established his reputation for tales of adventure and action. During the final years of his life, Stevenson's creative range developed and he wrote 'The Beach of Falesa' and began 'The Weir of Hermiston'. John Seelye is graduate research professor of American Literature at the University of Florida.
"Over Treasure Island I let my fire die in winter without knowing I was freezing."
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