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Arthur Ransome's Long-Lost Study of Robert Louis Stevenson

Arthur Ransome's Long-Lost Study of Robert Louis Stevenson

Edited by Kirsty Nichol Findlay
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Arthur Ransome's Long-Lost Study of Robert Louis Stevenson
    Book Description:

    This is the first publication of a remarkable book by Arthur Ransome, originally commissioned in 1910. The manuscript, nearly complete, was sequestered by Ransome's wife in 1914, and he never saw it again. It came to light only by chance, long after his death. Arthur Ransome here gives an exceptionally personal and perceptive account of the strengths and weaknesses of Stevenson as man and writer. Writing when most books on Stevenson were biographical or merely adulatory, he intended his to be the first 'critical study'. The result is a fascinating and eager exposition by a yet-to-become-novelist of the writer who was to remain a lifelong inspiration. Here he wrestles to identify techniques that later underpin his 'Swallows and Amazons'. Moreover, this is the only manuscript first draft of a work by Ransome to survive, and as such provides a unique insight into his working methods. The appendices include all other extant material relating to Stevenson by Ransome, from his very first story (written at the age of eight, and hitherto published only privately) to working notes and articles in literary periodicals. The editor's substantial introduction gives a full account of the extraordinary history of the manuscript's development, disappearance, and rediscovery, and adds a new and enlightening chapter to the tumultuous story of Ransome's first marriage, early career, and escape to Russia. KIRSTY NICHOL FINDLAY taught at the University of Waikato, and since retiring has been a Moderator in Drama for Trinity College London. Her publications relate to her special interests: Renaissance, Commonwealth, and children's literature.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-982-4
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vi-viii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
    Kirsty Nichol Findlay
  5. INTRODUCTION: A Context for Arthur Ransome’s Robert Louis Stevenson: A Critical Study
    (pp. 1-48)

    On the first day of May 1914 a stout brown-paper parcel was dispatched by post from G. H. Harris, First-Class Boot and Legging Maker, The Strand, London W.C., ‘under Savoy Hotel’, to A. Ransome, Esq: at Manor Farm, Hatch, Tisbury, Wiltshire. The thirty-year-old Arthur Ransome was living at Hatch with his first wife Ivy and their three-year-old daughter Tabitha. He was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the parcel. Writing to his mother, he had longingly described the ‘Brands essence, A1 pair of brown walking boots, smart ones, that I have long coveted’. They would need to be tough and serviceable,...

  6. Arthur Ransome, Robert Louis Stevenson:: A Critical Study

    • Introductory
      (pp. 51-55)

      The book, as I see it now, should be really two books. The one should be the plain tale of an adventurous romantic’s progress through life in the nineteenth century; and the other should be a kind of log-book, kept by the clerk of a workshop, retaining perhaps a little of the abridgement and hurried character of notes made in the whistle and hum of the machinery, its pages smudged a little with iron filings, and here and there a shaving to keep the place. It should, I think, retain the sharp clean smell of new sawdust. And yet, different...

    • PART I Biographical Summary
      (pp. 56-85)

      Any consideration of the life and work of Stevenson must be a study of the reaction continually in progress between a delight in physical doing and making and being and an irresistible and more or less contradictory desire to write, to knit words together and to be absorbed wholly in an intellectual business. Stevenson felt that delight and this desire to be more or less opposed to each other; but, speaking with strict accuracy, the desire was no more than a result and at the same time a stimulus of the delight. Art with him as with all other artists...

    • PART II Writings
      (pp. 86-169)

      Throughout the chronicle of illness, adventures, and all kinds of play, have been scattered the names of books, and with them implicit reference to quite another life, ceaselessly carried on in the midst of most various activities, the life of a writer, an obstinate determined struggle with intangible difficulties, most of them not to be perceived even by those who were most often with him. It is the business of the rest of this book to consider that other intricate life, and to follow its progress, to observe a series of adventures on a plane quite different from that on...

    • [Illustrations]
      (pp. None)

      (pp. 170-197)
      (pp. 198-206)
  8. Index
    (pp. 207-214)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 215-215)