Biography of Robert Louis Stevenson

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A young Robert Louis Stevenson

     Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was born on November 13, 1850. His parents, Margaret and Thomas were natives of Edinburgh, Scotland. Thomas was in the Lighthouse design business, a pursuit which Robert Louis Stevenson did not wish to pursue. He went to college for engineering, but soon moved out of his father’s profession and into law. He never practiced, however, because he knew that he wanted to be a writer.

Early in Stevenson’s career, he became one of the first authors from the United Kingdom to practice the art of the short story.  Through these works such as Arabian Nights (1882), he began to develop the adventure-story narrative that he is known for today.

Stevenson met his wife, Fanny Osbourne, an American  in 1876. She had two children from her previous marriage. Stevenson moved out to California to join his wife and there he continued writing essays and short stories about his travels and about California, notably The Amateur Emigrant (published 1895) and The Silverado Squatters (1883).

One of Stevenson’s greatest works started as a treasure map for his stepson. He published his first full-length novel, Treasure Island shortly after that in 1883. After the novel’s publication, Stevenson began to enjoy the benefits of being a profitable and well known author. As he had hemorrhagic lungs, he was often confined to bed and one of the few activities he could do was write. And write he did, publishing over 24 works from Treasure Island until his death in 1894. He was buried in California overlooking the sea.


“RLS Website.” Robert Louis Stevenson Website. Ed. Linda Dryden. British Library Web Archive, 13 Nov. 2009. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.

A&E Television. “Robert Louis Stevenson.” A&E Networks Television, 2014. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.


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