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Essays of Robert Louis Stevenson

Essays of Robert Louis Stevenson by Robert Louis Stevenson
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“Extreme busyness…is a symptom of deficient vitality; and a faculty for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity.”

What comforting words for the idle among us! Like many of the best essayists, Stevenson is very much the genial fireside companion: opinionated, but never malicious; a marvellous practitioner of the inclusive monologue.

In this collection of nine pieces he discusses the art of appreciating unattractive scenery, traces the complex social life of dogs, and meditates in several essays upon the experience of reading literature and writing it. Perhaps his most personal passages concern death and mortality. Here we meet him at his most undogmatically optimistic, as he affirms a wholesome faith in “the liveableness of Life”.

First Page:

ESSAYS OF ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

SELECTED AND EDITED WITH AN INTRODUCTION AND NOTES BY WILLIAM LYON PHELPS M.A.(HARVARD) PH.D.(YALE)

PREFACE

The text of the following essays is taken from the Thistle Edition of Stevenson's Works , published by Charles Scribner's Sons, in New York. I have refrained from selecting any of Stevenson's formal essays in literary criticism, and have chosen only those that, while ranking among his masterpieces in style, reveal his personality, character, opinions, philosophy, and faith. In the Introduction , I have endeavoured to be as brief as possible, merely giving a sketch of his life, and indicating some of the more notable sides of his literary achievement; pointing out also the literary school to which these Essays belong. A lengthy critical Introduction to a book of this kind would be an impertinence to the general reader, and a nuisance to a teacher. In the Notes , I have aimed at simple explanation and some extended literary comment. It is hoped that the general recognition of Stevenson as an English classic may make this volume useful in school and college courses, while it is not too much like a textbook to repel the average reader... Continue reading book >>


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