The most popular pirate story ever written in English, featuring one of literature’s most beloved “bad guys,” Treasure Island has been happily devoured by several generations of boys-and girls-and grownups. Its unforgettable characters include: young Jim Hawkins, who finds himself owner of a map to Treasure Island, where the fabled pirate booty is buried; honest Captain Smollett, heroic Dr. Livesey, and the good-hearted but obtuse Squire Trelawney, who help Jim on his quest for the treasure; the frightening Blind Pew, double-dealing Israel Hands, and seemingly mad Ben Gunn, buccaneers of varying shades of menace; and, of course, garrulous, affable, ambiguous Long John Silver, who is one moment a friendly, laughing, one-legged sea-cook . . .and the next a dangerous pirate leader!The unexpected and complex relationship that develops between Silver and Jim helps transform what seems at first to be a simple, rip-roaring adventure story into a deeply moving study of a boy’s growth into manhood, as he learns hard lessons about friendship, loyalty, courage and honor-and the uncertain meaning of good and evil.
Robert Louis Stevenson was born on November 13, 1850 in Edinburgh. Raised in a wealthy family, his father was an engineer, studied at the university in his hometown. From his childhood he felt an inclination for literature. Influenced by Sir Walter Scott's narrative, many of his stories are set in the Middle Ages although perhaps the Pacific is the literary space that he explored most fruitfully. Sick with tuberculosis, he was forced to travel continuously in search of climates appropriate to his delicate state of health. His earliest published writings are descriptions of some of these trips. Thus, "Voyage inland" (1878) tells a canoe tour through France and Belgium that he had made in 1876, and "Voyages by donkey through the Cevannes" (1879) the vicissitudes of a journey on foot through the mountains of the southern France in 1878. One of his subsequent trips took him, on a migrant ship, to California (1879-1880), where, in 1880, he married the American divorcee Fanny Osbourne. Another one consisted of a pleasure cruise through the South Pacific (1889) to the Samoa islands, where he and his wife remained until 1894, in a last effort to regain the writer's health. The natives gave it the name of Tusitala ('the one who tells stories'). There he died late that same year, died at the age of 44 from a brain hemorrhage on December 3, and was buried on top of a mountain near Valima, his Samoan home. He wrote at least three masterpieces: "Treasure Island," "The Black Arrow," and "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." In two of them he created individual characters that have passed to the archetype gallery of European literature: Long John Silver, the cunning pirate whose dark plans always have a drop of humanity that ends up winning the hearts of the readers; and Dr. Jekyll,
His novels include "David Balfour and Weirde" (1886), "The Black Arrow" (1888) and "The Lord of Ballantree" (1889). The unfinished "Weir of Herminston" (1896), is considered as his masterpiece, since the fragments that remain contain some of the most beautiful passages he wrote.