R L Stevenson (1850-1894)

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Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson was born in Edinburgh. He was the only son of Thomas Stevenson, a prosperous joint-engineer to the Board of Northern Lighthouses, and Margaret Balfour, daughter of a Scottish clergyman. Stevenson was largely raised by his nanny, Alison Cunningham. Since his childhood, Stevenson suffered from tuberculosis. During his early years, he spent much of his time in bed, composing stories before he had learned to read. At the age of sixteen he produced a short historical tale. In 1867 he entered Edinburgh University to study engineering. Due to his ill health, he had to abandon his plans to follow in his father's footsteps. Stevenson changed to law and in 1875 he was called to the Scottish bar. By then he had already started to write travel sketches, essays, and short stories for magazines. In an attempt to improve his health, Stevenson travelled on the Continent and in the Scottish Highland. Later Stevenson spent much time in warmer countries. These experiences provided much material for his writings. While in France Stevenson met Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne, a married woman with two children, Belle and Lloyd. She returned to the United States to get a divorce. In 1879 Stevenson followed her to California where they married in 1880. From the late 1880s Stevenson lived with his family in the South Seas, where he had purchased an estate in Vailima, Samoa. During this Stevenson enjoyed a period of comparative good health. Stevenson died of a brain haemorrhage on December 3, 1894, in Vailima. Fanny Stevenson died in 1914 in California. Her ashes were taken to Samoa and buried alonside her husband, on the summit of Mount Vaea.


Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Treasure Island
The Master of Ballantrae