"The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson" by Robert Louis           Stevenson

The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson Volume Seven: September 1980 - December 1892 Robert Louis Stevenson, Bradford A. Booth, Ernest Mehew

Publication date:
25 Oct 1995
Yale University Press
496 pages: 279 x 241mm

The publication of Volumes VII and VIII completes this major edition of the letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, an edition comprising 2,800 letters, almost two-thirds of which have never been in print before.

These volumes contain some 560 letters that provide a vivid picture of the last four years of Stevenson's life, from 1890 to 1894. Stevenson spent these years in Samoa, where he had gone to improve his health. We learn a great deal about Stevenson's exile in Samoa: the early pioneering days during the establishment of the Vailima Plantation; his life as the head of a large household composed of his wife, Fanny, her two children, his mother, native house servants, and estate workers; his hospitality to native Samoan chiefs and to many white visitors; his passionate involvement in local politics; and his literary work--including David Balfour, the sequel to Kidnapped, and Weir of Hermiston, a masterpiece that he died before completing.

Ernest Mehew's detailed annotation elucidates the complications of the Samoan background and provides all the information necessary to enjoy Stevenson's letters to the full.

Bradford A. Booth, who was professor of English at the University of California at Los Angeles and who died in 1968, originated this project. Ernest Mehew, a retired English civil servant who has worked on this edition for more than twenty-five years, is widely recognized as the leading authority on Stevenson's life and work.

"The editors' annotations, dating, and notes are detailed, clear, unobtrusive, informed, precise, and free of cant?all that both the general reader and the academic could desire. The care exercised on this edition would argue that it is a bona fide work of love. Any library with any ambitions of providing important primary sources should have a set. Highly recommended."?Choice

"Beg, borrow, steal or even buy the Stevenson letters . . . Magnificently edited as a lifelong labour of love by Ernest Mayhew. They are . . . absolutely wonderful."?J.D.F. Jones, Financial Times

"[An] elaborate and magnificent edition. . . . Beautifully laid out and organised, copiously and concisely annotated."?P.N. Furbank, London Review of Books

"The Stevenson of this superb edition is a great progenitor. Modern English literature is overwhelmingly in his debt, and his Letters show us how his whole life constructed itself for such a harvest."?Owen Dudley, New Statesman & Society

"The outstanding literary event of the centenary [of Stevenson's death] will be the publication of the first six (out of eight) volumes of the Yale University Press edition of the Letters."?Janet Adam Smith, New York Review of Books

"It is a superb production, and in my view establishes Stevenson as our greatest nineteenth-century letter-writer after Byron. . . . The Yale Edition . . . renders Stevenson with a force and richness that will eventually require a new biography."?Richard Holmes, New York Review of Books

"Stevenson is without a doubt one of the world's great letter writers, and these volumes, now complete, should take their place among his collected works, as rich and rewarding a part of his output as any of his books. The dedication and thoroughness of the editors . . . has provided an unintrusive but invaluable framework for the letters themselves."?Jenni Calder, Scotland on Sunday

"These eight volumes of Robert Louis Stevenson?s letters are rich reading, for not only do they attest to his place as a writer and chronicler of his times and places but also to an imagination and spirit all too rarely manifested in the century since his death."?Catherine Kerrigan, Studies in Scottish Literature

"This volume is the magnificent conclusion to a magnificent enterprise. Bradford Booth, who began it, died in 1968; Ernest Mayhew has worked on it for 25 years. They deserve the highest praise."?Ian Bell, The Herald

"These are extremely welcome books as Volumes seven and eight conclude this first complete collection of Stevenson's surviving letters, a massive editorial undertaking, accomplished to the highest standards."?Paul H. Scott, The Scotsman

"This greatly adds to, corrects and replaces all previous compilations of the letters and is a trove of fascinating facts about the career of one of the greatest letter writers of the 19th century."?Edna O'Brien, The Sunday Telegraph

"[Stevenson] was a delightful letter-writer, and [these volumes] are offering a handsome salute to this aspect of his literary achievement."?Ian McIntyre, The Times, (London)

"The publication of some 2800 letters written by Robert Louis Stevenson is a stunning achievement that greatly enhances the literary legacy of one of Scotland's most famous authors. This new eight-volume edition published by Yale University Press undoubtedly will greatly influence our understanding of the author's life and work in the coming decades."?Frank E. Grizzard, Jr., The Virginia Quarterly Review

"[A] superb edition of Stevenson's letters."?Peter Keating, Times Literary Supplement