Seventeen-year-old David Balfour's villainous uncle has him kidnapped in order to steal his inheritance. David escapes only to fall into the dangerous company of rebels who are resisting British redcoats in the Scottish highlands.
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Series:||Everyman's Library Children's Classics Series|
|Edition description:||Everyman's Library|
|Product dimensions:||6.37(w) x 8.29(h) x 1.09(d)|
|Age Range:||7 Years|
About the Author
Throughout his life, Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was tormented by poor health. Yet despite frequent physical collapses–mainly due to constant respiratory illness–he was an indefatigable writer of novels, poems, essays, letters, travel books, and children’s books. He was born on November 13, 1850, in Edinburgh, of a prosperous family of lighthouse engineers. Though he was expected to enter the family profession, he studied instead for the Scottish bar. By the time he was called to the bar, however, he had already begun writing seriously, and he never actually practiced law. In 1880, against his family’s wishes, he married an American divorcée, Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne, who was ten years his senior; but the family was soon reconciled to the match, and the marriage proved a happy one.
All his life Stevenson traveled–often in a desperate quest for health. He and Fanny, having married in California and spent their honeymoon by an abandoned silver mine, traveled back to Scotland, then to Switzerland, to the South of France, to the American Adirondacks, and finally to the south of France, to the South Seas. As a novelist he was intrigued with the genius of place: Treasure Island (1883) began as a map to amuse a boy. Indeed, all his works reveal a profound sense of landscape and atmosphere: Kidnapped (1886); The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886); The Master of Ballantrae (1889).
In 1889 Stevenson’s deteriorating health exiled him to the tropics, and he settled in Samoa, where he was given patriarchal status by the natives. His health improved, yet he remained homesick for Scotland, and it was to the “cold old huddle of grey hills” of the Lowlands that he returned in his last, unfinished masterpiece, Weir of Hermiston (1896).
Stevenson dies suddenly on December 3, 1894, not of the long-feared tuberculosis, but of a cerebral hemorrhage. The kindly author of Jekyll and Hyde went down to the cellar to fetch a bottle of his favorite burgundy, uncorked it in the kitchen, abruptly cried out to his wife, “What’s the matter with me, what is this strangeness, has my face changed?”–and fell to the floor. The brilliant storyteller and master of transformations had been struck down at forty-four, at the height of his creative powers.
Date of Birth:November 13, 1850
Date of Death:December 3, 1894
Place of Birth:Edinburgh, Scotland
Place of Death:Vailima, Samoa
Education:Edinburgh University, 1875
Read an Excerpt
Introduction by Margot Livesey
When I was growing up in Scotland, Robert Louis Stevenson was the first author whom I knew by name, and he remains the only one whom I can truthfully claim to have been reading all my life. From an early age, my parents read to me from A Child's Garden of Verses, and I soon learned some of the poems by heart.
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
Perhaps I recognized, even then, Stevenson's unique gift for keeping a foot in two camps. While the poems vividly captured my childish concerns, somewhere in the margins shimmered the mystery of adult life. A few years later Kidnapped was the first chapter book I read, and I can still picture the maroon binding and the black-and-white drawings that illustrated David Balfour's adventures. At the age of seven, a book without pictures would have been out of the question, but, in fact, they turned out to be superfluous. I could imagine everything that happened just from the words on the page, although I must admit to the small advantage that the view from my bedroom windowbare hills, rocks, heatherwas very much like the landscape of Kidnapped.
At first glance such early acquaintance might seem like a good omen for an author's reputation. In actuality, that Stevenson is so widely read by children has tended to make him seem like an author from who, as adults, we have little to learn. It is worth noting that his contemporaries would not have shared this prejudice. Nineteenth-century readers did not regard children's books as separate species. Stevenson's own father often reread The Parent's Assistant, a volume of children's stories, and Leslie Stephen, Virginia Woolf's father, writes of staying up late to finish Treasure Island.
Like the shadow of his poem, Stevenson's reputation has waxed and waned at an alarming rate. He died in a blaze of hagiography, which perhaps in part explains the fury of later critics. F.R. Leavis in The Great Tradition dismisses Stevenson (in a footnote, no less) as a romantic writer, guilty of fine writing, and in general Stevenson has not fared as well as his friend Henry James. People comment with amazement that Borges and Nabokov praised his novels. Still, his best work has remained in print for over a hundred years, and his is among that small group of authors to have given a phrase to the language: Jekyll and Hyde.
Besides our perception of Stevenson as a children's author, two other factors may have contributed to his ambiguous reputation. Although his list of publications is much longer than most people realizehe wrote journalism and travel pieces for moneyhe failed to produce a recognizable oeuvre, a group of works that stand together, each resonating with the others. In addition, the pendulum of literary taste has swung in a direction that Stevenson disliked and was determined to avoid: namely, pessimism. After reading The Portrait of a Lady he wrote to James begging him to write no more such books, and while he admired the early work of Thomas Hardy, he hated the darker Tess of the d'Urbervilles. The English writer John Galsworthy commented memorably on this aspect of Stevenson when he said that the superiority of Stevenson over Hardy was that Stevenson was all life, while Hardy was all death.
Table of Contents
1. I Set Off upon My Journey to the House of Shaws,
2. I Come to My Journey's End,
3. I Make Acquaintance of My Uncle,
4. I Run a Great Danger in the House of Shaws,
5. I Go to the Queen's Ferry,
6. What Befell at the Queen's Ferry,
7. I Go to Sea in the Brig Covenant of Dysart,
8. The Roundhouse,
9. The Man with the Belt of Gold,
10. The Siege of the Roundhouse,
11. The Captain Knuckles Under,
12. I Hear of the "Red Fox",
13. The Loss of the Brig,
14. The Islet,
15. The Lad with the Silver Button: Through the Isle of Mull,
16. The Lad with the Silver Button: Across Morven,
17. The Death of the Red Fox,
18. I Talk with Alan in the Wood of Lettermore,
19. The House of Fear,
20. The Flight in the Heather: The Rocks,
21. The Flight in the Heather: The Heugh of Corrynakiegh,
22. The Flight in the Heather: The Moor,
23. Cluny's Cage,
24. The Flight in the Heather: The Quarrel,
25. In Balquhidder,
26. End of the Flight: We Pass the Forth,
27. I Come to Mr. Rankeillor,
28. I Go in Quest of My Inheritance,
29. I come into My Kingdom,
What People are Saying About This
"Crossley reads this tale as its author might have. Adept at the language of the region and times, Crossley deftly brings one of literature's best-known stories to the ears of contemporary listeners." -AudioFile