According to Wikipedia: "Robert Louis (Balfour) Stevenson ( 1850 - 1894), was a Scottish novelist, poet, and travel writer, and a leading representative of Neo-romanticism in English literature. He was the man who "seemed to pick the right word up on the point of his pen, like a man playing spillikins", as G. K. Chesterton put it. He was also greatly admired by many authors, including Jorge Luis Borges, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, Vladimir Nabokov, and J. M. Barrie. Most modernist writers dismissed him, however, because he was popular and did not write within their definition of modernism. It is only recently that critics have begun to look beyond Stevenson's popularity and allow him a place in the canon."
A celebrated author in many different fields of literature, Stevenson is also recognized as a highly engaging and prolific correspondent - he penned over 2,800 letters, which are contained in eight critically acclaimed volumes. In this book, 317 of Stevenson’s most interesting and revealing letters represent each stage of his mature life. With a linking narrative and full annotation, Ernest Mehew sets the letters in the context of Stevenson’s remarkable life.
Excerpt from The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, Vol. 3 of 4 The letters printed in the following section are selected from those which tell of Stevenson's voyage to New York and reception there at the beginning of September 1887; of his winter's life and work at Saranac Lake, and of his decision taken in May 1888 to venture on a yachting cruise in the South Seas. The moment of his arrival at New York was that when his reputation had first reached its height in the United States, owing to the popularity both of Treasure Island and Kidnapped, but more especially to the immense impression made by the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
The value of these letters lies in their being like their writer. All Stevenson's work, when it was successful, was a more or less literal transcription of his everyday self. Even his literary discipline tended and helped to this end, instead of to the production of an artificial and unfamiliar self. No writer owed so much to his own social qualities ; and his popularity is very far from being an exclusively literary one. His interests, his views of life, his opinions on books, his hopes, his despondencies, his eccentricities, heresies, prejudices, he insinuates into his readers, and they are adopted, cheered, echoed, in most unlikely quarters, not because of their intrinsic worth 01 reasonableness, but because they were his, and had, therefore, the most winning of advocates and expounders. The Vailima Letters are not to be named with epistolary masterpieces. But they let out the secret, to whoever has not already guessed it, of Stevenson's beguiling influence. Just what delighted you in Kidnapped, or The New Arabian Nights, or in the Travels with a Donkey, is here to delight you when he is speaking of his own private concerns, or of Samoan politics, or of his literary hopes and fears—his sparkling fun, his varying moods, his austere indignation, his gentleness, his ready confidence. If Stevenson ever posed at all he posed in naturalness, in being so much himself that no one could think him other than he was.