Born on November 13, 1850, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Robert Louis Stevenson traveled often, and his global wanderings lent themselves well to his brand of fiction. Stevenson developed a desire to write early in life, having no interest in the family business of lighthouse engineering. He was often abroad, usually for health reasons, and his journeys led to some of his early literary works.
Publishing his first volume at the age of 28, Stevenson became a literary celebrity during his life when works such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were released to eager audiences. He died in Samoa in 1894.
In 1878, Robert Louis Stevenson saw the publication of his first volume of work, An Inland Voyage; the book provides an account of his trip from Antwerp to northern France, which he made in a canoe via the river Oisé. A companion work, Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes (1879), continues in the introspective vein of Inland Voyage and also focuses on the voice and character of the narrator, beyond simply telling a tale.
Also from this period are the humorous essays of Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881), which were originally published from 1876 to '79 in various magazines, and Stevenson's first book of short fiction, New Arabian Nights (1882). The stories marked the United Kingdom's emergence into the realm of the short story, which had previously been dominated by Russians, Americans and the French. These stories also marked the beginning of Stevenson's adventure fiction, which would come to be his calling card.
The 1880s were notable for both Stevenson's declining health (which had never been good) and his prodigious literary output. He suffered from hemorrhaging lungs (likely caused by undiagnosed tuberculosis), and writing was one of the few activities he could do while confined to bed. While in this bedridden state, he wrote some of his most popular fiction, most notably Treasure Island (1883), Kidnapped (1886), Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), and The Black Arrow (1888).
The idea for Treasure Island was ignited by a map that Stevenson had drawn for his 12-year-old stepson; Stevenson had conjured a pirate adventure story to accompany the drawing, and it was serialized in the boys' magazine Young Folks from October 1881 to January 1882. When Treasure Island was published in book form in 1883, Stevenson got his first real taste of widespread popularity, and his career as a profitable writer had finally begun. The book was Stevenson's first volume-length fictional work, as well as the first of his writings that would be dubbed "for children." By the end of the 1880s, it was one of the period's most popular and widely read books.
Robert Louis Stevenson lived in Edinburgh Edinburgh. Robert Louis Stevenson was born in 1850 and died in 1894.