In 1878, Robert Louis Stevenson was suffering from poor health, struggling to survive on the income derived from his writings, and tormented by his infatuation with Fanny Osbourne, a married American woman. His response was to embark on journeys through Cevennes and America where he wrote 'Travels With a Donkey' and 'The Amateur Emigrant'.
In 1878, Robert Louis Stevenson escaped from his numerous troubles - poor health, tormented love, inadequate funds - by embarking on a journey through the Cevennes in France, accompanied by Modestine, a rather single-minded donkey. The notebook Stevenson kept during this time became Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes, a highly entertaining account of the French people and their country. The Amateur Emigrant is a journal of his travels to and in America - describing the crowded weeks in steerage with the poor and sick, as well as stowaways - and the train journey he took across the country. Filled with sharp-eyed observations, this work conveys Stevenson's perceptions of America and the Americans. Together, these two pieces are examples of nineteenth-century travel writing, revealing as much about the traveller as the places he travels to. Christopher MacLachlan's introduction places the works in their biographical and literary context. This edition also includes pieces from Stevenson's original notebooks, a chronology, further reading, notes and maps of the journeys.
In 1878, Robert Louis Stevenson was suffering from poor health, struggling to survive on the income derived from his writings, and tormented by his infatuation with Fanny Osbourne, a married American woman. His response was to embark on a journey through the Cevennes with a donkey, Modestine, and a notebook, which he later transformed into Travels with a Donkey. Just a few months after publication, Stevenson was off again this time crossing the Atlantic and the breadth of America in the hope of being re-united with Fanny, an experience he recorded in The Amateur Emigrant. Both pieces are classics of travel writings, which reveal as much about Stevenson's character as the landscape he travels through.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) was born in Edinburgh and studied engineering and law, before turning to writing full time. He wrote essays, travel literature, poetry, and fiction. Christopher MacLachlan is Senior Lecturer in English at St Andrews. He has written widely on 18th-century English/ Scottish literature; the Scottish Enlightenment; modern Scottish literature.
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