"Selected Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson" by Robert Louis           Stevenson

Selected Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Louis Stevenson, Ernest Mehew

Format:
Paperback
Publication date:
11 Aug 2001
ISBN:
9780300091243
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
640 pages: 197 x 127mm

Millions of readers throughout the world continue to enjoy Treasure Island, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, A Child’s Garden of Verses, and other books by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894). A celebrated author in many different fields of literature, Stevenson is also recognized as a highly engaging and prolific correspondent: he penned over 2,800 letters, which are contained in eight critically acclaimed volumes published by Yale University Press. In this book, 317 of Stevenson’s most interesting and revealing letters represent each stage of his mature life. With a linking narrative and full annotation, Ernest Mehew sets the letters in the context of Stevenson’s remarkable life.

Beginning with the days of his troubled youth in Edinburgh, Stevenson’s letters go on to tell of his love for Frances Sitwell, a beautiful, older married woman; a reckless journey to California in pursuit of Fanny Osbourne, the woman who became his wife; their worldwide but vain search for a healthy place to live; and a period of adventure in the South Seas, where Stevenson wrote some of his best work and became passionately involved in Samoan life. The letters show the author’s zest for living despite daunting illnesses, his struggles with his own writing, his literary tastes, and his affection for his friends. Stevenson writes in many moods, ranging from playful and witty to deeply serious. Better than any biography ever could, these letters in Stevenson’s own words tell the real story of his life.

Ernest Mehew, widely recognized as the leading authority on Stevenson’s life and work, is a retired English civil servant. He worked on the complete eight-volume edition of Stevenson’s letters for more than twenty-five years.

Listed among the Best Nonfiction of 1998 by The Los Angeles Times Book Review


"Every library, both public and academic, should have a copy."?Choice"Mehew has established himself as the best possible authority for undertaking this highly selective project. The volume reveals Stevenson in his own terms in a manageable form. Readers will gain an autobiographical insight into this engaging individual and his development as a writer?and as one of the greatest letter-writers known. . . . The same generous annotations, informed commentary, precise scholarship, and eminently readable style that Mehew demonstrated in the eight-volume shines through this volume as well. Every library, both public and academic, should have a copy."?Choice


"The editing is superb. . . . The book is quite splendid and a marvelous read."?Expository Times


"As in the eight-volume version, Mehew's linking narrative and footnotes are a joy to read."?Financial Times


"Ernest Mehew's selected edition of the letters is digested from his eight volumes of over 2,800 items. He is a shrewd and lucid editor who knows all there can be to know about his author's itineraries and domestic life."?Karl Miller, Guardian


"Jam-packed with wit, charm, descriptive power and pathos."?Andrew Motion, Independent on Sunday


"Mehew, who has spent more than 25 years on Stevenson's letters, knows the material like no-one else, and no-one could have made a better job of it. The result?beautifully produced and astonishingly cheap?is a literary landmark which will give pleasure to generations of readers."?Claire Harman, Independent on Sunday


"In this handsome volume, scrupulously edited by dedicated Stevenson scholar Mehew, offer a vivid self-portrait that no biography can match."?Library Journal

"The 317 letters in this handsome volume, scrupulously edited by dedicated Stevenson scholar Mehew, offer a vivid self-portrait [of Stevenson] that no biography can match. . . . Stevenson?s correspondences . . . radiate an energy that belies his abiding, debilitating physical frailty. . . . As lively a collection as could be imagined."?Library Journal

"This selection . . . shows [Stevenson?s] brilliance sparkling on every page. . . . The book is wonderfully abundant. Edited with exemplary thoroughness, and stitched together with a modest but helpful commentary. . . . An exhilarating read."?Library Journal


"The most enthralling and most reliable account of Stevenson's life that has ever been available in a single volume."?Jeremy Treglown, Los Angeles Times Book Review (Listed among the Best Nonfiction of 1998)

"The most enthralling, and most reliable, account of Stevenson?s life that has ever been available in a single volume?The letters are intensely alive, rich and comical?Whichever of Stevenson?s books readers like best, they will find something absorbing about it here?There are telling glimpses of other writers?J. M. Barrie, Ford Madox Ford, Rider Haggard, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, George Bernard Shaw?Mehew has made his selection adroitly, as well as with formidable expertise." ?Jeremy Treglown, Los Angeles Times Book Review


"This selection of Stevenson's letters is a triumphant conclusion to the quarter-century's work put in by its editor, Ernest Mehew."?D.J. Taylor, Mail on Sunday


"This selection, which contains around 300 or the nearly 3000 that Ernest Mehew has already printed in his magnificent eight-volume edition shows [Stevenson's] brilliance sparkling on every page. . . . An exhilarating read."?Andrew Motion, Observer Review

"This selection . . . shows [Stevenson?s] brilliance sparkling on every page. . . . The book is wonderfully abundant. Edited with exemplary thoroughness, and stitched together with a modest but helpful commentary. . . . An exhilarating read."?Andrew Motion, The Observer Review


"If Yale University Press decide to boil down the eight volumes into Selected Letters, with linking narrative, we will at last have an accessible, but also properly researched, life of Stevenson."?Humphrey Carpenter, Sunday Times


"Stevenson lived to the full. Mehew's lifelong devotion to editing Stevenson has illuminated his subject brilliantly."?Ian Campbell, The Scotsman


"His incomparable letters, which occupy eight volumes in the critical edition, are most conveniently available in Selected Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson."?Eric Ormsby, New York Sun

 


"[The letters] make us acquainted, as nothing else can, with the complex, delightful, and?rarest of qualities?wholly admirable character that was R. I. S., as it pleased Stevenson to sign himself. Thanks to the efforts of Ernest Mehew, it?s now possible to get the full flavor of Stevenson?s piquant letters in a single meaty volume . . . The results of his painstaking labors are to connect, at every step, the letters with the life, and to render appreciable that life?s heft and irregular shape." ?Ben Downing