Treasure Island (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Treasure Island (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

by Robert Louis Stevenson, Angus Fletcher

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Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.


The most popular pirate story ever written in English, featuring one of literature’s most beloved “bad guys,” Treasure Island has been happily devoured by several generations of boys—and girls—and grownups. Its unforgettable characters include: young Jim Hawkins, who finds himself owner of a map to Treasure Island, where the fabled pirate booty is buried; honest Captain Smollett, heroic Dr. Livesey, and the good-hearted but obtuse Squire Trelawney, who help Jim on his quest for the treasure; the frightening Blind Pew, double-dealing Israel Hands, and seemingly mad Ben Gunn, buccaneers of varying shades of menace; and, of course, garrulous, affable, ambiguous Long John Silver, who is one moment a friendly, laughing, one-legged sea-cook . . .and the next a dangerous pirate leader!

The unexpected and complex relationship that develops between Silver and Jim helps transform what seems at first to be a simple, rip-roaring adventure story into a deeply moving study of a boy’s growth into manhood, as he learns hard lessons about friendship, loyalty, courage and honor—and the uncertain meaning of good and evil.

Angus Fletcher is Distinguished Professor Emeritus, City University of New York, and is the author of Allegory: The Theory of a Symbolic Mode, Colors of the Mind, and A New Theory for American Poetry, among other books.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781411433342
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 06/01/2009
Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 82,359
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), a Scottish author of novels, poems, and essays, is best known for the classic books Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. A literary celebrity during his lifetime, Stevenson remains popular for his celebrated contributions to the adventure and horror genres.

Date of Birth:

November 13, 1850

Date of Death:

December 3, 1894

Place of Birth:

Edinburgh, Scotland

Place of Death:

Vailima, Samoa


Edinburgh University, 1875

Read an Excerpt

From Angus Fletcher’s Introduction to Treasure Island


            If we go back to the origins of adventure story fiction, we discover that the heroic quest remains its principal myth. Quest-romances take many different forms, whether it be the search for the Holy Grail in Arthurian legend, for the Golden Fleece (as in the Argonautica, the ancient epic of Jason and the Argonauts), for the safe return home after perilous Homeric wanderings, as in the Odyssey, or for a wide range of ends both material and spiritual. What is important is that, once established in classic form, the great adventure stories render all readers, of any age, essentially children at heart. The quest gives us our dream of success, and when we tire of daily labor in making a living, it returns us to that time of the dream. Thus for Treasure Island the questing dream comes out of a long preceding history. Besides two early travel books based on journeys in France, Stevenson told stories in homage to the Near Eastern tradition of loosely woven adventures: his New Arabian Nights (1882), in which the exotic nature of travel to distant lands is imagined as occurring in stories set in Europe. This art of romance thrives on the incredible voyage, the sailor’s yarn (in his day perhaps more fashionable than any other type), the tall frontier tale, including exotic or utopian settings that could never actually exist, because romance demands almost complete power to overcome all human obstacles. The mode of romance therefore demands freedom to imagine. Yet the tradition seems to mix realism on some level with such unreal situations for the hero. In Robinson Crusoe (1719) Daniel Defoe mingles fact and fiction liberally. The same mixture appears in Arthurian lore, while with the rise of the modern middle classes a new kind of romance arises around the quest for material success.

By Stevenson’s time Protestant beliefs and secular technology had long since fueled the rise of capitalism. Robinson Crusoe, while it inaugurated the realistic tradition of the novel in England, makes a continuous critical commentary on mercantile capitalism and its value system, especially as they derive aid and comfort from Protestant Christianity. Crusoe, whose name plays on the name of Christ, is in effect a marooned capitalist, who must rebuild his fortune, by returning his commercial skills to their most primitive beginnings. In this process Crusoe learns who he actually is. Such a quest is tied to the science of counting up supplies, enemies, distances, and even dreams, all of which become the very stuff of realistic modern fiction. Typically the castaway begins his lonely sojourn by surveying what is left to him from the ruins of shipwreck—that is, making the inventory of tools available beyond mere life itself. To be sure, virtually all the major novelists comment, directly or allusively, on the nature and sources of wealth, often indicating how these derive from imperial expansion. Scholars have found these middle-class indicators in what might seem the strangest places—for example, the novels of Jane Austen. Character and commerce seem not so secretly linked. Yet how could it be otherwise, since the bourgeois novel attempts an accounting of life? At the end of the nineteenth century, Henry James claimed for the novel that its function was to provide genuine “criticism” of the way we live, to provide a kind of narrative philosophy, storytelling endowed with serious levels of meaning, suggesting profound and often obscure themes. Stevenson’s essay “A Humble Remonstrance” (1884; see, in “For Further Reading,” The Lantern-Bearers and Other Essays) countered James’s critical principle by favoring romance. There is no way, the essay claimed, for the novel to “compete with life.” Instead the novel should maintain its exhilarating imaginative independence from the crude facts of existence, drawing upon those facts solely as a resource for delineating passion. (The saame article faults the distinguished American novelist and editor William Dean Howells for a similar dependency upon the new naturalistic style.) Stevenson wanted to keep the idea of treasure somehow pure. With Henry James, whom Stevenson so much admired and who became his valued correspondent, the idea of a treasure sought by adventurous quest took on an ironic aspect. James’s critical gaze, enhanced by his own obsession with wealth, led him to analyze the typical methods of acquiring it, such as real estate speculation in the value of houses or New Englanders piling up industrial wealth or European princes marrying American money. In these late novels and stories James’s critical conceptions collide with material obsessions, and the results are often obscure, even uncanny, as in The Ambassadors, The Wings of the Dove, and The Golden Bowl.

By the author’s own account “the seed” of his novel came from the idea of a treasure chest he found in another adventure story, Charles Kingsley’s At Last (1871).  As a goal of acquisitive good luck and daring, treasure in general provides the motive, indirectly or directly (consider Rider Haggard’s immensely popular novel King Solomon’s Mines) for all sorts of adventures. The nineteenth century saw a new world of yearning popular literature, much like Hollywood movies and television shows today. Sentimental romances, “penny dreadfuls,” and “shilling shockers” enthralled large masses of readers. The fossilized popular novels of this earlier date now sit moldering on the storage shelves of pre-electronic libraries, their desiccated pages exuding a dismal smell. Once great in number and acclaim among the young, they saved many a tedious day from misery. The adventure novels of G. A. Henty (1832–1902) appeared in more than 150 volumes. In twentieth-century Britain, Henty was displaced by the more up-to-date Percy Westerman (1876–1959; at school youngsters called him “Percy Piffler,” to show they knew their author), who wrote more than 100 such books. In the United States, to match such prolific output one would look to the 135 “dime novels” of Horatio Alger (1832–1899), again showing how the market of books for the young continued and still continues to put a premium on production. This literature multiplies mainly because it lacks any serious, thought-provoking realism about the hazards of either romance or adventure. The book cannot be read fast enough! Sentimental romances and the adventure stories are of course the same commodity, masked by gender difference. If the novel is to work, it must on some level achieve an illusion of escape, and also of achieving a goal at the same time.

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Treasure Island 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 711 reviews.
Cassandraa22 More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite adventure stories, for anybody who enjoys action, adventure, and thrill, they should definitely buy this book. This book was so excellent I had to pass it on to somebody else so they could enjoy it just as well. I highly recommend it!
Garfield78 More than 1 year ago
I felt this was a rather good book that seemed to really start the pirate tales that have gone through to the Pirate of the Caribbean movies. I thought that the intro was also good and did explain where Stevenson got his ideas for the book, and much better than the intro for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which I felt gave the ending away too early. I was hoping the book would be a bit more exciting, but there was enough action throughout. I have read better books, but I have also read worse, so that is why I gave this book 4 stars.
Nazire More than 1 year ago
The Treasure Island is a fascinating read. It has such original characters that has been reinvented throughout the decades. Anyone who likes sea voyage, pirate stories will love the beginnings of such stories in Stevenson's cleverly portrayed novel. The characters are fun and interesting, the plot is actionful there is always another secret to solve in the story.
tfm1066 More than 1 year ago
The novel is, of course, a classic adventure story. Unfortunately, this edition is poorly done. Among other flaws, it lacks an illustration of the treasure map, which is critical to the story. Instead of traditional quotation marks, it uses some odd invention that is distracting. I took the book to my local B & N store, where the clerk agreed with my negative assessment of this edition and where I quickly found an excellent version of the book. I bought it and gave it to my grandchildren, as was planned. The story's book was actually less expensive, too, so this all ended happily. But ditch the edition I ordered online. It is substandard.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jim, the protagonist, is just a boy, that works at the Admiral Benbox Inn, but he can see that Billy Bones is a nervous man, always alert and watching for stangers arriving at the inn. And he has the right to be nervous, because he possesses a map drawn by Capitan Flint, the most feared pirate to ever roam the high seas.
Well, Flint died, but there's plenty of men who served with Capitan Flint still alive who feel they deserve a fair share of the treasure. The map, though, ends up with Jim Hawkins. (it's a near thing, read the book to find out how that happens). Jim confides in the local doctor and squire, who work together to acquire a ship, a crew, and provisions to sail for Treasure Island. There is a weak link though, because although Squire Trelawney is well-intentioned, he has a big mouth. By the time the Hispaniola is ready for sea, she is boarded by the old murderous mob who sailed with Flint!
There's a scene in the book where Jim, hiding in a barrel on deck, discovers that mutiny is planned. The numbers suggest that the pirates are going to take over the ship and make this journey their own, taking all the treasure for themselves. There are nineteen mutineers and seven honest men, including Jim, aboard the ship.
And now....this book will have you pining to see what happens next. This is a fantastic story of double-crossing and deceit, bravery and cowardice. I don't know how things would have turned out if Jim hadn't been involved. For it is he who finds Ben Gunn, marooned on the island, half-mad with isolation. And it is Jim who single-handedly steals the Hispaniola from under the very noses of the pirates and sails her round the island to a secret beaching place.
And do you know what happens to Long John Silver, the greatest double-crosser of them all? A true classic my dad read to me when I was young.
MacT9997 More than 1 year ago
Not An Ordinary Treasure Hunt By Mac Treasure Island By Robert Louis Stevenson 304 pgs. $4.45. (Young Adult; ages 13 and up) “Reading” is usually something a teenager doesn’t want to hear. But when you read Treasure Island, your mind goes off into to a great land where it is just you and the book. Robert Louis Stevenson created a fiction novel that makes you think. It makes you want to know what is going to happen next. You are more focused on finding the treasure in this book. What starts off a little slow turns into a great adventure on which you will embark with the protagonist named Jim. Robert Louis Stevenson, a Scottish author, wrote “Treasure Island” in 1884. Even though this book has some age on it doesn’t mean it is not good. “Treasure Island” is a classic for many reasons. “Treasure Island” is a book that will take you on an adventure that you will never forget. It starts off with a young boy named Jim. Jim and his parents own a Inn near the ocean. Jim helps out at the “Admiral Bow”. Jim met one “customer” one day that would change his life forever. They called him Captain. Captain was an odd man that created the story. The Captain’s personality was spine chilling. They said he was a mean man. He showed it when the book described this, “The old fellow’s fury was awful. He sprang to his feet, drew and opened a sailor’s clasp-knife, and balancing it open on the palm of his hand, threatened to pin the doctor to the wall.”(17). That just got the book started. There was more to come. Jim, the protagonist, was a very adventurous kid. He had to grow up fast when he learned he had to embark on a journey with a crew of older men. It took them to Treasure Island. The story got a lot more intense as it went on. It even pushed Long John to the edge. He said, “That’s enough, cap’n,” shouted Long John ,“A word from you’s enough. I know a gentleman, and you may lay to that.” (336). Tension gets high when treasure is put on the line. Long, the captain of the crew, wanted to find that treasure. Jim meets tons of people on his journey. He makes friends and enemies. He learns from mistakes. Jim learns that he can put himself apart from others and still accomplish things. As you read this book, you have to remember Jim is not an adult. He is just a really mature kid. The kid shows in him at times when he is a little too curious. He knows he can do what the other crewmembers can. Jim will prove to the people that he is not a little kid anymore. Keep reading this wonderful novel to find out what happens next. You will not want to put down the book once you start. This book will keep you guessing. There is something awesome happening in “Treasure Island”. This adventurous book will make you have chills running down your back. This book has you on the edge. This book shows you the build up to adventure, the adventure, and what happens after the adventure. When you start the journey to Treasure Island, you will be in your own world with Jim and his shipmates. This book would be a 4 out of 5 stars for me. I like it but I really don’t love pirate adventures. This is still a great read and I recommend it to anyone that loves adventure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very awesome I love Robert Lious Stevenston
Ria Megnin More than 1 year ago
A must read for anyone interested in pirate literature.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is an ok book but it is kind of confusing but all in all it is a good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This Classic Literature novel by Robert Louis Stevenson is really good book has shown the  adventure and the action. Stevenson created delightful story of an amazing treasure hunt. As this novel takes place way back into the eighteenth century, the adventure started from a young  boy named Jim Hawkins having a mysterious treasure map from the most feared pirate to ever roam the seas. On this voyage, the author draws attention with rumors of betrayal among the crew. Jim discovers that mutiny is planned and is the hero of the pirate tale. I will recommend to read this book especially  the people who like action, the pirate adventure, and sensation. This has enough action for the reader to keep the interest of what happens to Long John Silver, the greatest double-crosser of the pirates in the ship "Hispaniola". I read this book back in middle school and got really fascinated. Now that I read it again, I love this classic even more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do not buy because there is a different book called 25 children books that is $3 and has 25 other stories includeing this title!
Cliffnote More than 1 year ago
A classic. Loved it.
BaltimoreReads More than 1 year ago
The popular image of a pirate has come to be a peg-legged, grammatically-incorrect, rum-fancying gold-seeker, usually of the selfish and corruptible variety (possibly with a parrot perched on the shoulder). Everyone knows a pirate cannot be trusted, because they are either risking their life for gold, or risking the lives of others for their own safety. This universally accepted pirate lore is largely indebted to Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, a classic novel starring the young Jim Hawkins and his quest for treasure on an abandoned island. The story begins at Jim's home, the Admiral Benbow Inn, where his father is slowly passing away and a dilapidated old seaman has made himself at home. "The captain," as everyone calls him, steers clear of any obvious seamen, and warns Jim of a one-legged sailor. When Jim's father dies and strange and unwelcome men come knocking at the inn in search of the captain, the boy finds himself in the midst of an epic and dangerous adventure aboard The Hispaniola, a ship sailing toward the legendary island where Captain Flint buried his treasure. Treasure Island remains a cherished story to this day for many reasons. For one, Stevenson expertly crafts the protagonist, Jim Hawkins. Jim is a smart and resourceful young man. He has just lost his father, his mother is an ocean away, and the threat of death is around every corner, and yet he does anything but curl up and hide. In fact, his biggest fault is his undying bravery - his tendency to act before really thinking things through, but always in the best interest of his friends. Luckily for Jim and his comrades, such as the intelligent Dr. Livesey and the hardnosed Captain Smollett, his foolhardy actions often work out for the better. As Jim survives close shaves with the treacherous ocean and the backstabbing pirates, readers can see him evolving from a sad and scared young boy into a confident and honorable young man. Another gem within Stevenson's tale is the duplicitous Long John Silver, the peg-legged sailor that is a respected sea-cook one second and a mutinous captain the next. Silver is the ultimate pirate, always conniving and talking his way toward both treasure and survival. One never really knows whose side Silver is on, though it can be certain he is always doing what is best for himself. Stevenson gives Silver the ability to turn words and manipulate his fellow buccaneers - so well, in fact, that I often found myself wondering just what his intentions were. Was Silver really all that bad? Could he get any worse? Treasure Island is filled with mystery, deceit, yo-ho-hos, and bottles of rum - a true pirate's tale complete with plenty of action to keep the pages turning. From Captain Hook to Jack Sparrow to the popular Muppet's Treasure Island, bits of Stevenson's timeless story live on to this day. If you are interested in reading where the world of piracy and treasure-hunting first came to form, X marks the spot on Treasure Island - you're sure to find what you're looking for from the first sentence to the last. Check out BaltimoreReads on wordpress!
Anonymous 4 months ago
This has been my favorite book since I got an Usborne book bundle of it. I recently found my cd of it, yet, good luck quickly turned bad when I saw that the CD was cracked and all scratched up, the book didn't have any more luck than the audio. Hence, I am now here, writing about how happy I am to have this spectacular story back.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thos rp is most likely dead
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do you have to be the son or daughter of a villain or superhero?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anyone here?
Cecrow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is not the classic I was expecting. I can see the roots of adventure stories, all the original establishment of what have become pirate cliches, but I just wasn't grabbed for most of the story and I'm not sure why that is. Some of Jim Hawkin's actions were too reckless for me to believe and I never grew close to his character, but then I lack the 19th century sense of British forthrightness that might have made me think his decisions more rational. Long John Silver I did like and appreciate throughout, and I was disappointed that his story's ending lacked any sort of power; you can see how this has been corrected in any movie rendition. Among RLS' works, his Jekyl and Hyde remains my favourite.
spywall on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read the "Jr." version of this as a kid and enjoyed it again as a 40 year old... I'm looking forward to reading this, a chapter a night, to my son & daughter when they're a little older.
likelectriceels on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I reread this book at the beginning of this summer, right when the third Pirates movie was coming out. Not only that, but I read it while on vacation at a friend's lakehouse. Needless to say, I spent the entire weekend pretending I was a pirate in my own head. I forgot how much I really do love this book. Even before the Pirates of the Caribbean craze, I've always been partial to pirates - mostly because of this book. I think that since the main character is a young boy, it was easy for me to build a fantasy world to myself using the events in this novel. I spent many a long day, hiding out in the woods pretending to hide from the evil pirates.Overall, a fantastic children's novel. Lush scenery and, despite the cliche, characters that practically leap from the page.
391 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's slow starting, but once I got to about the middle of the book, I couldn't put it down. It's pretty much a straight-up adventure novel, with action and pirates and everything you could ever want, really.
elbakerone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
(Quick disclaimer: I wrote this review for my blog for Talk Like a Pirate Day. Please forgive my grammar and salty dialect as I only take one out of 365 days to actually talk like a pirate!)Treasure Island be the title of this tome and the writer be Cap'n Robert Louis Stevenson! In this adventure set on the high seas, the reader be interduced to the young lad Jim Hawkins, who finds himself in possession of the map to an island filled with buried treasure. Young Jim be recruited as a cabin boy and joins a crew of seasoned sailors lookin' to seek out the loot, and amid these salty dogs is the one legged cook - known by the fearsome name of Long John Silver. Yarr! It be no surprise that Jim overhears Long John Silver plannin' a mutiny but the young lad must take it upon himself to thwart the plans of the filthy pirate, keepin' the treasure and the honest crew members safe.Cap'n Stevenson does a fine job with this swarthy tale of swashbuckling adventure. Older readers as well as the wee little ones will find this story to be a great way to be passin' the time while out at sea. From the parrot that skwaks out "Pieces o' eight" to the singin' of the pirate song "yo ho ho and a bottle o' rum", this story be havin' all a buccaneer could want and rightfully earns its place as a classic.
jayne_charles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Everyone's heard of this book. Surprising how much I thought I knew about it without actually having read it. The reality was quite different - more sinister for a start. Not just a load of jolly pirates with peg-legs and parrots stapled to their shoulders. Quite a lot of violence. Kids should love it.
ncgraham on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I was a child I would often peruse a little pamphlet my parents owned. It was titled Hand that Rocks the Cradle and featured ¿a select list of books to read to children.¿ Most of the commentary about the selections was straightforward and a little bit dull, but I¿ve never forgotten what Mr. Bluedom had to say about Robert Louis Stevenson¿s Treasure Island.WARNING: If you read this book you may not be able to enjoy any other book again because you will subconsciously compare it to the perfection of this book and always find it lacking.NOTE 1: If you read this book and find it does not captivate you, then there¿s no hope for you, and you may look upon yourself as a truly sorry case.NOTE 2: If you look up the word ¿adventure¿ you will find listed in the dictionary as its definition ¿circumstances that follow the plot of Treasure Island.¿As it turns out, I have read and enjoyed many books since my dad first read Treasure Island aloud to me many years ago, but nevertheless there is some truth to what Bluedom wrote. Certainly Treasure Island is the essential pirate story, and was instrumental in creating the modern mythos of the backstabbing buccaneer. But I would give it a higher accolade than that, and say that it is one of those great books that attains perfection within the bounds of its genre and, in doing so, transcends the genre. Thus, though it is often referred to as a ¿boy¿s adventure story,¿ it can be enjoyed at all ages. Not all of my childhood favorites have held up as I¿ve grown older, but this has.One of the reasons is Stevenson¿s writing. It¿s perfect. As G. K. Chesterton once wrote, ¿he seemed to pick the right word up on the point of his pen ¿ there was a kind of swordsmanship about it.¿ While his prose may have been richer in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the man always had an unfailing sense of atmosphere, and here every paragraph seems to be steeped in sea salt. I find the haunting introduction of ¿Captain¿ Billy Bones particularly well done:I remember him as if it were yesterday, as he came plodding to the inn door, his sea-chest following behind him in a hand-barrow; a tall, strong, heavy nut-brown man; his tarry pigtail falling over the shoulders of his soiled blue coat; his hands ragged and scarred, with black, broken nails; and the sabre cut across one cheek, a dirty, livid white.And then there is Long John Silver, one of those larger-than-life figures who has long since assumed a life beyond what his author intended for him. We tend to think of Silver now as being menacing from the very start of the story (due, no doubt, to actors such as Orson Welles and Tim Curry playing the role on screen), but he is first introduced to us as a lovable old cook with impeccable manners ¿ and he retains those impeccable manners right up until the end of the book, with only occasional glimpses of his true ruthlessness. The conversations between him and Jim Hawkins (our narrator/hero, an honest and likeable lad) are masterpieces of manipulative wordplay.My favorite part of the book, however, has to be the ¿Israel Hands¿ chapter. The situation is very complicated, and the tension incredible. Here are two characters who must work together to safely navigate a ship. At the same time, Jim knows that the wounded Israel is armed and plotting to kill him. And as they work, they talk about ghosts, morality, and the afterlife.¿Well,¿ said I, ¿I¿ll cut you some tobacco; but if I was you and thought myself so badly, I would go to my prayers, like a Christian man.¿¿Why?¿ said he. ¿Now, you tell me why.¿¿Why?¿ I cried. ¿You were asking me just now about the dead. You¿ve broken your trust; you¿ve lived in sin and lies and blood; there¿s a man you killed lying at your feet this moment; and you ask me why! For God's mercy, Mr. Hands, that¿s why.¿My only complaint with the book is that the ending is rushed and less exciting than I remember. But that is a min
readingrat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A true adventure classic.