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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: 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. Â
About The Author 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.
Biography Robert Louis Stevenson was born in 1850 in Edinburgh. His father was an engineer, the head of a family firm that had constructed most of Scotland's lighthouses, and the family had a comfortable income. Stevenson was an only child and was often ill; as a result, he was much coddled by both his parents and his long-time nurse. The family took frequent trips to southern Europe to escape the cruel Edinburgh winters, trips that, along with his many illnesses, caused Stevenson to miss much of his formal schooling. He entered Edinburgh University in 1867, intending to become an engineer and enter the family business, but he was a desultory, disengaged student and never took a degree. In 1871, Stevenson switched his study to law, a profession which would leave time for his already-budding literary ambitions, and he managed to pass the bar in 1875.
Illness put an end to his legal career before it had even started, and Stevenson spent the next few years traveling in Europe and writing travel essays and literary criticism. In 1876, Stevenson fell in love with Fanny Vandergrift Osbourne, a married American woman more than ten years his senior, and returned with her to London, where he published his first fiction, "The Suicide Club." In 1879, Stevenson set sail for America, apparently in response to a telegram from Fanny, who had returned to California in an attempt to reconcile with her husband. Fanny obtained a divorce and the couple married in 1880, eventually returning to Europe, where they lived for the next several years. Stevenson was by this time beset by terrifying lung hemorrhages that would appear without warning and required months of convalescence in a healthy climate. Despite his periodic illnesses and his peripatetic life, Stevenson completed some of his most enduring works during this period: Treasure Island (1883), A Child's Garden of Verses (1885), Kidnapped (1886), and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886). After his father's death and a trip to Edinburgh which he knew would be his last, Stevenson set sail once more for America in 1887 with his wife, mother, and stepson. In 1888, after spending a frigid winter in the Adirondack Mountains, Stevenson chartered a yacht and set sail from California bound for the South Pacific. The Stevensons spent time in Tahiti, Hawaii, Micronesia, and Australia, before settling in Samoa, where Stevenson bought a plantation called Vailima. Though he kept up a vigorous publishing schedule, Stevenson never returned to Europe. He died of a sudden brain hemorrhage on December 3, 1894. Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Good To Know It has been said that Stevenson may well be the inventor of the sleeping bag -- he described a large fleece-lined sack he brought along to sleep in on a journey through France in his book Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes. Long John Silver, the one-legged pirate cook in Stevenson's classic Treasure Island, is said to be based on the author's friend William Ernest Henley, whom he met when Henley was in Edinburgh for surgery to save his one good leg from tuberculosis. Stevenson died in 1894 at Vailima,, his home on the South Pacific island of Upolu, Samoa. He was helping his wife make mayonnaise for dinner when he suffered a fatal stroke.
Reviews Climb aboard for the swashbuckling adventure of a lifetime. Treasure Islandhas enthralled (and caused slight seasickness) for decades. The names Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins are destined to remain pieces of folklore for as long as children want to read Robert Louis Stevenson's most famous book. With it's dastardly plot and motley crew of rogues and villains, it seems unlikely that children will ever say no to this timeless classic.
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. <BR/>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! <BR/>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. <BR/>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. <BR/>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.
This book was amazing. It is a must read for book fanatics. There are a few errors/spelling mistakes but it doesn't make the book less enjoyable. This is the best book i have read so far. Got to love the classics. If you are looking for a book filled with pirates and exciting adventures than this is the book to read.
Seriously this is an amazing story. Do not listen to bad reviews this book will absolutely captivate you. It isn't like the pathetically uncerebral books written today. If you can't handle big words... stick to Twilight. If you want something that will stimulate your imagination, I highly recommend this.
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 LanternBearers 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 (1832Â–1902) appeared in more than 150 volumes. In twentieth-century Britain, Henty was displaced by the more up-to-date Percy Westerman (1876Â–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 (1832Â–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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