Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure Island is a book that everyone has heard from somewhere, and I, for a long time and some reason, thought that I read it when I was a kid. It is one of those classics that you’ve heard a lot about, and it is for a reason. As I’ve mentioned, for a long time, I thought about whether I read it as a child or not and whether I should read it again. However, I understood that it was necessary to read Treasure Island and not dwell on it too much.


Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure Island is one of the most popular books by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. I understood better the reason why it has not lost anything from its popularity for years. There is a great story and a villain, Long John Silver, that you will love very, very much. Stevenson manages to create a very enigmatic mystery and tell a very gripping story through the characters. If you think that you’re too old for Treasure Island now, I would say get rid of these thoughts immediately because you are greatly mistaken.

Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure Island

Sir, with no intention to take offence, I deny your right to put words into my mouth”: Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island

Treasure Island is the seminal pirates and buried treasure novel, which is so brilliantly concocted that it appeals to readers both young and old. The story is told in the first person by young Jim Hawkins, whose mother keeps the Admiral Benbow Inn. An old seadog, a resident at the inn, hires Jim to keep a watch out for other sailors whom he fears but, despite all precautions, the old man is served with the black spot which means death. Among the dead man’s belongings, Jim discovers a map showing the location of the buried treasure of the notorious pirate Captain Flint.

It is not long before he, along with Doctor Livesey and Squire Trelawney, sets sail to find the treasure. However, amongst the hired hands is the one-legged Long John Silver who has designs on the treasure for himself. The continuing fascination with this tale of high drama, buried treasure and treachery bears out what Stevenson wrote about the book to his friend W. E. Henley: ‘if this don’t fetch the kids, why, they have gone rotten since my day.’ The book not only continues to ‘fetch the kids’ but the grown-ups too – in fact, all those with the spirit of adventure in their hearts.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson was a 19th-century Scottish writer notable for such novels as ‘Treasure Island,’ ‘Kidnapped’ and ‘Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.’

Novelist Robert Louis Stevenson travelled often, and his global wanderings lent themselves well to his brand of fiction. Stevenson developed a desire to write early in life, having no interest in the family business of lighthouse engineering. He was often abroad, usually for health reasons, and his journeys led to some of his early literary works. Publishing his first volume at the age of 28, Stevenson became a literary celebrity during his life when works such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were released to eager audiences.

Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure Island

The 1880s were notable for both Stevenson’s declining health (which had never been good) and his prodigious literary output. He suffered from haemorrhaging lungs (likely caused by undiagnosed tuberculosis), and writing was one of the few activities he could do while confined to bed. While in this bedridden state, he wrote some of his most popular fiction, most notably Treasure Island (1883), Kidnapped (1886), Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) and The Black Arrow (1888).

The idea for Treasure Island was ignited by a map that Stevenson had drawn for his 12-year-old stepson; Stevenson had conjured a pirate adventure story to accompany the drawing, and it was serialized in the boys’ magazine Young Folks from October 1881 to January 1882. When Treasure Island was published in book form in 1883, Stevenson got his first real taste of widespread popularity, and his career as a profitable writer had finally begun. The book was Stevenson’s first volume-length fictional work, as well as the first of his writings that would be dubbed “for children.” By the end of the 1880s, it was one of the period’s most popular and widely read books.

Stevenson died of a stroke on December 3, 1894, at his home in Vailima, Samoa. He was buried at the top of Mount Vaea, overlooking the sea.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

Read Around the World, A Great Journey

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