Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa

Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa

by Joseph Farrell


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Shortlised for the Saltire Society Non Fiction Book of the Year Award

Almost every adult and child is familiar with his Treasure Island, but few know that Robert Louis Stevenson lived out his last years on an equally remote island, which was squabbled over by colonial powers much as Captain Flint's treasure was contested by the mongrel crew of the Hispaniola.

In 1890 Stevenson settled in Upolu, an island in Samoa, after two years sailing round the South Pacific. He was given a Samoan name and became a fierce critic of the interference of Germany, Britain and the U.S.A. in Samoan affairs - a stance that earned him Oscar Wilde's sneers, and brought him into conflict with the Colonial Office, who regarded him as a menace and even threatened him with expulsion from the island.

Joseph Farrell's pioneering study of Stevenson's twilight years stands apart from previous biographies by giving as much weight to the Samoa and the Samoans - their culture, their manners, their history - as to the life and work of the man himself. For it is only by examining the full complexity of Samoa and the political situation it faced as the nineteenth century gave way to the twentieth, that Stevenson's lasting and generous contribution to its cause can be appreciated.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781848668812
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton, Ltd.
Publication date: 06/11/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 631,511
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Joseph Farrell is Emeritus Professor at the University of Strathclyde. His books include a cultural history of Sicily and biographies of Dario Fo and Leonardo Sciascia. He is also a renowned translator from the Italian, whose translations include works by Leonardo Sciascia, Vincenzo Consolo, Dario Fo and Valerio Varesi. He lives in Glasgow.

Table of Contents

Foreword 13

Introduction: The Romance and the Dominion 19

Part I In the South Seas

Chapter 1 Another Sky 33

Chapter 2 A Most Unlikely Couple 46

Chapter 3 A Wise Folly 59

Chapter 4 Distant Glimpses of Samoa 76

Part II Samoa

Chapter 5 The Sailing Gods 91

Chapter 6 Missionaries and Traders 109

Chapter 7 In the Margins of A Footnote to History 125

Chapter 8 Civil and Uncivil Life in Samoa 148

Chapter 9 A Deeply Interesting Time 163

Chapter 10 Outbreak of War 184

Part III Home at Vailima

Chapter 11 A Real Domestic Man 197

Chapter 12 Residents and Visitors 218

Chapter 13 A Home for Angels 238

Chapter 14 Fanny: The Horror of Madness 260

Part IV The Writer at Work

Chapter 15 The Sense of Kinship: Scottish and Pacific Ballads 273

Chapter 16 A Lot Accomplished 291

Chapter 17 A Far Cry from Samoa to Scotland? 312

Part V Final Days

Chapter 18 Home is the Sailor 327

A Visit to Robert Louis Stevenson: A Letter S.R. Lynaght 338

Index 344

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