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
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 charactersBlind Pew and Black Dog, the castaway Ben Gunn and the charming but dangerous Long John SilverStevenson'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.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was born in Edinburgh. He 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."