Although Robert Louis Stevenson produced a large number and variety of writings during his relatively short life and was considered a serious adult author in his own day, he is largely remembered now as the writer of one gothic horror story, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), and two boys’ books, Treasure Island and Kidnapped: Being Memoirs of the Adventures of David Balfour in the Year 1751 (1886). Such a view is undoubtedly unfair and slights the author’s many valuable literary accomplishments, but the fact that these three works have endured not only as citations in literary histories but also as readable, exciting books is a tribute to Stevenson’s genius. Treasure Island remains the supreme achievement among the three works. Although critics may debate its seriousness, few question its status as the purest of adventure stories. According to Stevenson, the book was born out of his fascination with a watercolor map he himself drew of an imaginary island.
When Jim Hawkins begins by stating that he is telling the story in retrospect, at the request of “Squire Trelawney, Doctor Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen,” readers are assured that all the principals survived the quest successfully, thus giving readers that security necessary in a romantic adventure intended primarily for young people. Although many exciting scenes will ensue and the heroes will face great danger on a number of...
(The entire section is 1735 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Treasure Island Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!