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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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Also appearing in the early 1880s were Stevenson's short stories "Thrawn Janet" (1881), "The Treasure of Franchard" (1883) and "Markheim" (1885), the latter two having certain affinities with Treasure Island and Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde (both of which would be published by 1886), respectively.
The 1880s were notable for both Stevenson's declining health (which had never been good) and his prodigious literary output. He suffered from hemorrhaging lungs (likely caused by undiagnosed tuberculosis), and writing was one of the few activities he could do while confined to bed. While in this bedridden state, he wrote some of his most popular fiction, most notably Treasure Island (1883), Kidnapped (1886), Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), and The Black Arrow (1888).
The idea for Treasure Island was ignited by a map that Stevenson had drawn for his 12-year-old stepson; Stevenson had conjured a pirate adventure story to accompany the drawing, and it was serialized in the boys' magazine Young Folks from October 1881 to January 1882. When Treasure Island was published in book form in 1883, Stevenson got his first real taste of widespread popularity, and his career as a profitable writer had finally begun. The book was Stevenson's first volume-length fictional work, as well as the first of his writings that would be dubbed "for children." By the end of the 1880s, it was one of the period's most popular and widely read books.
The year 1886 saw the publication of what would be another enduring work, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which was an immediate success and helped cement Stevenson's reputation. The work is decidedly of the "adult" classification, as it presents a jarring and horrific exploration of various conflicting traits lurking within a single person. The book went on to international acclaim, inspiring countless stage productions and more than 100 motion pictures.
In June 1888, Stevenson and his family set sail from San Francisco, California, to travel the islands of the Pacific Ocean, stopping for stays at the Hawaiian Islands, where he became good friends with King Kal?kaua. In 1889, they arrived in the Samoan islands, where they decided to build a house and settle. The island setting stimulated Stevenson's imagination, and, subsequently, influenced his writing during this time: Several of his later works are about the Pacific isles, including The Wrecker (1892), Island Nights' Entertainments (1893), The Ebb-Tide (1894) and In the South Seas (1896).
Toward the end of his life, Stevenson's South Seas writing included more of the everyday world, and both his nonfiction and fiction became more powerful than his earlier works. These more mature works not only brought Stevenson lasting fame, they helped to enhance his status with the literary establishment when his work was re-evaluated in the late 20th century, and his abilities were embraced by critics as much as his storytelling had always been by readers.
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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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