Introduction: Robert Louis Stevenson (01:22)
The Scottish writer had a series of adventures that rivaled those of his fictional characters. He crossed the ocean in search of love, became the most famous author in the world, and fought a civil war on a tropical island.
Stevenson's Family Background (06:37)
Stevenson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland to a family of well-known lighthouse engineers. His grandfather made his name with the Bell Rock Lighthouse. One of Stevenson’s first publications was a technical paper on the topic.
Stevenson's Personality (04:03)
Stevenson had a restless spirit and rebelled against Edinburgh’s establishment. He lived a double life, visiting the seedy Old Town district where he could write in secret as he collected darker material for his stories.
Fanny Van de Grift (04:07)
Stevenson went to France in 1876 to recuperate from tuberculosis. He met Van de Grift and became smitten with “the Wild Woman of the West.” He followed her to California, convincing her to divorce her husband and marry him.
"Treasure Island" (06:31)
Stevenson returned to Scotland with Fanny and his stepson, Lloyd. He had published a few short stories and travelogues, but he needed more money. Stevenson began work on his debut novel.
"Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (13:42)
Stevenson and his family moved to Bornemouth, England in 1884. There he began work on his darkest novel. He drew inspiration from nightmares and ergotine; he burned his first draft of the novel.
International Fame (04:49)
"Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" made Stevenson an international celebrity, but his father was unmoved. Stevenson hoped a new novel might overcome his father’s indifference, and he began work on “Kidnapped.”
Island Paradise and Civil War (08:17)
Stevenson left Britain for good in 1887. He rented a sailboat to roam the Pacific, ultimately settling with his family in Samoa. His idyllic life was upended by the Samoan Civil War.
Stevenson's Nostalgia and Death (07:53)
Stevenson channeled his nostalgia for Scotland into a history of his family and lighthouses. Stevenson evicted his son-in-law after catching him stealing. He suffered a stroke and died at age 44.
Credits: Adventures of Robert Louis Stevenson (00:44)
Credits: Adventures of Robert Louis Stevenson
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