Robert Louis Stevenson

The New Secular Puritan Covenant

Thanksgiving brings back memories for Americans of the Pilgrims and Puritans, carrying out their “errand into the wilderness” to build a “city on a hill,” surviving that first bleak Massachusetts winter of 1620-21. As a kid, I remember that cutting out Puritan hats from black construction paper and taping them to the school windows was [...]

The Blood-Soaked Seas of Reason: Robert Louis Stevenson and Chesterton as Literary Critics

The craft of the painter or the sculptor, G.K. Chesterton would contend, can reveal, like a law, the rich complexity of reality: this law of fine art (when done finely) curbs man’s passion to control and dominate. It is a law which encourages man’s desire for standing in wonder for the Truth and its vastness. [...]

Sin and Civilization: Reading Deeply into the Summer

There is an old adage that the summer vacation was a time for buildings to be empty, not the mind.   So, let salt air, sin, and the fate of civilization fire up the imagination over the coming weeks. Most readers expect that the tone and pace of a summer book should mark a shift from [...]

Books Which Have Influenced Me

The most influential books, and the truest in their influence, are works of fiction.  They do not pin the reader to a dogma, which he must afterwards discover to be inexact; they do not teach him a lesson, which he must afterwards unlearn.  They repeat, they rearrange, they clarify the lessons of life; they disengage [...]

Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island

“One more step, Mr. Hands,” said I, “and I’ll blow your brains out! Dead men don’t bite, you know,” I added, with a chuckle. You weren’t expecting Treasure Island, were you?   Well, we never are and that is part of its beauty. Here am I reader, on the coast of Maine. In trying to frame [...]

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

The arrival of a New Year invites reflection on a particular horror of human existence. A horror that was well exemplified by the ancient Romans who gave the passage into a new year to Janus, the god of gateways, who bore two faces—one facing forwards and the other backwards; looking both to the future and [...]

Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses

“The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” In this one of his most famous lines, Robert Louis Stevenson presents us with a metaphor of the child as a king and the world as his vast domain.  This image of the child king [...]

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