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Vailima Letters   By: (1850-1894)

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Vailima Letters by Robert Louis Stevenson is a fascinating compilation of personal correspondence written by the renowned Scottish author during his time spent in Samoa. This collection of letters provides readers with a unique insight into the mind of Stevenson, as he candidly shares his thoughts, observations, and experiences with his loved ones back home.

Written with eloquence and flair, Stevenson's letters are a testament to his deep connection with the people and the land of Samoa. One cannot help but be enchanted by his vivid descriptions of the stunning landscape, the vibrant culture, and the kindness of the Samoan people. Stevenson's love for the island is palpable throughout the letters, painting a picturesque image that transports readers to this idyllic paradise.

Beyond the admiration for the setting, Vailima Letters delves into a variety of topics that showcase Stevenson's intellect and curiosity. From discussions about the intricacies of Samoan politics, to his reflections on the nature of writing and literature, the breadth of themes covered in these letters is impressive. Stevenson effortlessly weaves his thoughts together, engaging readers and encouraging them to ponder over the subjects he explores.

One of the greatest strengths of this collection is the way in which Stevenson bares his soul to his correspondents. Through his letters, he reveals his struggles with illness, his desires for adventure, and his fears of failure. This vulnerability adds depth to the letters and makes Stevenson's experiences all the more relatable, despite the vast differences in time and circumstance.

However, while the content of the letters is undeniably captivating, it must be noted that the format of the book can be somewhat overwhelming. Since the letters were originally intended for specific individuals, they occasionally reference events or people that are unfamiliar to readers. This can create a slight disconnect and make it challenging to fully grasp the context of certain passages.

Nevertheless, Vailima Letters remains a valuable and intimate portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson, offering readers a glimpse into the mind and heart of a literary genius. Stevenson's ability to capture the essence of Samoa, combined with his profound insights and emotional transparency, make this collection a worthwhile read for fans of the author's work and anyone interested in the life of a great writer.

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Vailima Letters Robert Louis Stevenson Scanned and proofed by David Price, email

Vailima Letters



MY DEAR COLVIN, This is a hard and interesting and beautiful life that we lead now. Our place is in a deep cleft of Vaea Mountain, some six hundred feet above the sea, embowered in forest, which is our strangling enemy, and which we combat with axes and dollars. I went crazy over outdoor work, and had at last to confine myself to the house, or literature must have gone by the board. NOTHING is so interesting as weeding, clearing, and path making; the oversight of labourers becomes a disease; it is quite an effort not to drop into the farmer; and it does make you feel so well. To come down covered with mud and drenched with sweat and rain after some hours in the bush, change, rub down, and take a chair in the verandah, is to taste a quiet conscience. And the strange thing that I mark is this: If I go out and make sixpence, bossing my labourers and plying the cutlass or the spade, idiot conscience applauds me; if I sit in the house and make twenty pounds, idiot conscience wails over my neglect and the day wasted. For near a fortnight I did not go beyond the verandah; then I found my rush of work run out, and went down for the night to Apia; put in Sunday afternoon with our consul, 'a nice young man,' dined with my friend H... Continue reading book >>

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