More than most writers, Robert Louis Stevenson requires a Literary Life. Fascination with Stevenson's life (the 'Stevenson biography' is almost a minor genre) has tended to eclipse his literary achievement. This study focuses on Stevenson's writing practice within the different geographical, cultural and political contexts that shaped it, from Scotland to the South Seas. Following Stevenson's own views on biography, the book is not structured primarily in terms of chronology, but is more a kind of literary geography than traditional literary history.
'A new book... mapping the bohemian life of Robert Louis Stevenson looks at the cocaine-fuelled convalescence that produced Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and a whole lot more besides.' - Phil Hewitt - Chichester Observer
'Gray's close reading is meticulous and intelligent so there's a sense that we're engaging with the real texture of Stevenson's life and work.' - The Scotsman
'With admirable economy, Gray delineates Stevenson's engagements with different literary cultures and traditions - he is especially good on the fertilizing effects of French literature on Stevenson's imagination - and then lays out the varied fruits of those engagements: essays, poems, letters, travelogues, plays, and prose fiction' - Stephen Arata, Victorian Studies 48 (Spring 2006)