- Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
Born on 13 November, 1850, Stevenson's father was an engineer who, with his two brothers, was responsible for building over 40 lighthouses around Britain. Stevenson was an only child whose later autobiographical essays and poetry ("A Child's Garden of Verses") described growing up in Edinburgh>.
He suffered from ill health but he started an engineering course at Edinburgh University> with a view to following into his father's business. But he wanted to be a professional writer and eventually, as a compromise with his father, he studied instead for a law degree, becoming an advocate in 1875. His holidays spent in France with his cousin, an artist, became the basis for "Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes". He sometimes wrote in the Scots vernacular, including a number of poems and the story of "Thrawn Janet".
While in France he met Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne, an American who was 10 years older than Stevenson. Despite disapproval from his father, he followed her across America and married her in San Francisco. However he had contracted tuberculosis and spent the following years trying to find places conducive to helping to allay his symptoms.
He published "Treasure Island" in 1882 and the thriller Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde"and "Kidnapped" in 1886. While in America he started "The Master of Ballantrae" set in Scotland and America.
He made a number of voyages to the South Seas and eventually settled in Samoa in 1890. He continued writing there but unexpectedly died of a stroke on 3 December 1894.
The graphic is of a commemmorative banknote issued on 3 December 1994, the 100th anniversary of Stevenson's death.
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