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Robert Louis Stevenson was a 19th century Scottish writer notable for such novels as Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
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Born on November 13, 1850, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Robert Louis Stevenson traveled often, and his global wanderings lent themselves well to his brand of fiction. Stevenson developed a desire to write early in life, having no interest in the family business of lighthouse engineering. He was often abroad, usually for health reasons, and his journeys led to some of his early literary works. Publishing his first volume at the age of 28,
"I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move."
"There is only one difference between a long life and a good dinner: that, in the dinner, the sweets come last."
Stevenson became a literary celebrity during his life when works such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were released to eager audiences. He died in Samoa in 1894.
Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on November 13, 1850, to Thomas and Margaret Stevenson. Lighthouse design was his father's and his family's profession, and so at the age 17, he enrolled at Edinburgh University to study engineering, with the goal of following his father in the family business. Lighthouse design never appealed to Stevenson, though, and he began studying law instead. His spirit of adventure truly began to appear at this stage, and during his summer vacations he traveled to France to be around young artists, both writers and painters. He emerged from law school in 1875, but did not practice, as, by this point, he felt that his calling was to be a writer.
In 1878, Robert Louis Stevenson saw the publication of his first volume of work, An Inland Voyage; the book provides an account of his trip from Antwerp to northern France, which he made in a canoe via the river Oisé. A companion work, Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes (1879), continues in the introspective vein of Inland Voyage and also focuses on the voice and character of the narrator, beyond simply telling a tale.
Also from this period are the humorous essays of Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881), which were originally published from 1876 to '79 in various magazines, and Stevenson's first book of short fiction, New Arabian Nights (1882). The stories marked the United Kingdom's emergence into the realm of the short story, which had previously been dominated by Russians, Americans and the French. These stories also marked the beginning of Stevenson's adventure fiction, which would come to be his calling card.
A turning point in Stevenson's personal life came during this period, when he met the woman who would become his wife, Fanny Osbourne, in September 1876. She was a 36-year-old American who was married (although separated) and had two children. Stevenson and Osbourne began to see each other romantically while she remained in France. In 1878, she divorced her husband, and Stevenson set out to meet her in California (the account of his voyage would later be captured in The Amateur Emigrant). The two married in 1880, and remained together until Stevenson's death in 1893.
After they were married, the Stevensons took a three-week honeymoon at an abandoned silver mine in Napa Valley, California, and it was from this trip that The Silverado Squatters (1883) emerged.
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The Chaplin. The Fu Manchu. The Van Dyke. The Garlbaldi. These beards, and other creative variations on chin whiskers, have become such a striking reflection of their wearers' personalities that it becomes hard to know whether the people made the facial hair famous, or the other way around. We do know this much is certain: the only rivals to these fabulous beards are the men sporting them.
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