I wrote of Robert Louis Stevenson some days back.
His serialization of KIDNAPPED began in 1886 this month.
Taken with the earlier Treasure Island (1883) and A Child's Garden of Verses (1885),
it established Stevenson as one of England's most popular writers of "Children's Literature."
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, provoked by a dream and written in a ten-week burst during the writing of Kidnapped,
was also published during this period.
Title page of the first London edition (1886)
Though Stevenson wrote prolifically and in almost every genre, these four books from the mid-1880s are, for most, those upon which his reputation stands.
Few have ever questioned the remarkable industry and spirit of a life lived in the shadow of death.
A year after Kidnapped he left Scotland and southern England for America in search of adventure and a better climate for his tuberculosis.
Writing continued on land and sea at 400 pages a year for twenty years, reckoned his first biographer. From one letter home a year before Stevenson died:
- "For fourteen years I have not had a day's real health;
- I have awakened sick
and gone to bed weary; and I have done my work unflinchingly.
- I have written in
bed, and written out of it, written in haemorrhages,
- written in sickness,
written torn by coughing, written when my head swam for weakness;
And for so long, it seems to me I have won my wager and recovered my glove....
And the battle goes on 'ill or well.'
It is a trifle; so as it goes. I was made for a contest."
So what is stopping you from writing?