Sunday, June 04, 2006

Robert Louis Stevenson

April 3, 2006

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant." ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Who was Robert Louis Stevenson? Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was a Scottish novelist and poet famous for stories of adventure and romance. He was constantly ill with tuberculosis (never diagnosed during his life), and lived a short but full life. During a period of his most serious illness, he wrote his most enduring works, Treasure Island (1883), Kidnapped (1886) and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), all known for their psychological depth.

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, he studied engineering and then law, but neglected academic work and devoted himself to learning how to write by imitating the styles of others (including Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe). He received a law degree in 1875 which went unused, then traveled to San Francisco where he met the author of South Sea Idylls who encouraged him to go to the south Pacific. He married his wife Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne in 1880 in San Francisco, who supported his adventurous travels despite his ill health.

He made several trips to the Kingdom of Hawaii and was close friends with King David Kalakaua and the king's niece Princess Victoria Kaiulani, also of Scottish heritage. He died at age 44 of a cerebral hemorrhage as a tribal leader in Samoa. He had been given the Samoan name Tusitala, meaning "storyteller".


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