The novels of Robert Louis Stevenson

Rompkey, William H. (1961) The novels of Robert Louis Stevenson. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Stevenson first entered fiction in the romantic novel of action, more specifically the boys' adventure story. Treasure Island is handled skilfully both in development and style, and, while The Black Arrow is somewhat inferior, KidnappedĀ· is again of the calibre of the first book. Although it is an adventure story, plot and character developments in Kidnapped, which occur when Stevenson introduces the elements of Scottish history and topography, suggest the later dramatic novels. The triumph of evil, a dominant theme, is treated most vividly in Dr, Jekyll and Mr, Hyde and the Master of Ballantrae. Concurrent with this theme is the presentation of 'The Devil as Angel' in Silver, Alan Breck, James Durie and Frank Innes. Moreover, these two novels mark the transition from romantic to dramatic. Although the characters are still flat, Jekyll and Henry Durie do make moral choices which determine their destinies. In The Master of Ballantrae, also, is the father-son estrangement and the integration of the Scottish national character as background for the psychological situation. In conception and execution Weir of Hermiston is magnificent, and Stevenson's greatest novel. Here, once more, is the father-son relationship, set against the Scottish background. But Weir of Hermiston is also a great love story. The quality of Weir of Hermiston and Stevenson's perspicacity as a critic suggest he consciously produced inferior work. While a harsh judgement of this should be tempered by consideration of his physical disability, the weaknesses in his novels force him, certainly not into oblivion, but at least into the second class.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 12300
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (page 158-164).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 14 February 1961
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894.

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