Publisher: Roberts Brothers
292+[12 ad] pages with frontispiece map and plates. Small octavo (7 1/2" x 5 1/2") bound in original publisher's brown cloth with black lettering to spine and cover with pictorial nautical vignettists to cover with paisley end papers and paste downs. First American edition.
Treasure Island is an adventure novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, narrating a tale of "buccaneers and buried gold". It was originally serialized in the children's magazine Young Folks between 1881 through 1882 under the title Treasure Island, or the mutiny of the Hispaniola, credited to the pseudonym "Captain George North". It was first published as a book on 14 November 1883 by Cassell & Co. This is traditionally considered a coming-of-age story, and is noted for its atmosphere, characters, and action. It is also noted as a wry commentary on the ambiguity of moralityâ€”as seen in Long John Silverâ€”unusual for children's literature. It is one of the most frequently dramatized of all novels. Its influence is enormous on popular perceptions of pirates, including such elements as treasure maps marked with an "X", schooners, the Black Spot, tropical islands, and one-legged seamen bearing parrots on their shoulders. Stevenson conceived of the idea of Treasure Island (originally titled, "The Sea Cook: A Story for Boys") from a map of an imaginary, romantic island idly drawn by Stevenson and his stepson Lloyd Osbourne on a rainy day in Braemar, Scotland. Stevenson had just returned from his first stay in America, with memories of poverty, illness and adventure (including his recent marriage), and a warm reconciliation between his parents had been established. Stevenson himself said in designing the idea of the story that, "It was to be a story for boys; no need of psychology or fine writing; and I had a boy at hand to be a touchstone. Women were excluded... and then I had an idea for Long John Silver from which I promised myself funds of entertainment; to take an admired friend of mine... to deprive him of all his finer qualities and higher graces of temperament, and to leave him with nothing but his strength, his courage, his quickness, and his magnificent geniality, and to try to express these in terms of the culture of a raw tarpaulin." Completing 15 chapters in as many days, Stevenson was interrupted by illness and, after leaving Scotland, continued working on the first draft outside London. While there, his father provided additional impetus, as the two discussed points of the tale, and Stevenson's father was the one who suggested the scene of Jim in the apple barrel and the name of Walrus for Captain Flint's ship. Stevenson consciously borrowed material from previous authors. In a July 1884 letter to Sidney Colvin, he writes "Treasure Island came out of Kingsley's At Last, where I got the Dead Man's Chestâ€”and that was the seedâ€”and out of the great Captain Johnson's History of the Notorious Pirates." Stevenson also admits that he took the idea of Captain Flint's skeleton point from Poe's "The Gold-Bug," and he constructed Billy Bones' history from the pages of Washington Irving, one of his favorite writers. One month after he conceived of "The Sea Cook," chapters began to appear in the pages of Young Folks magazine. Eventually, the entire novel ran in 17 weekly installments from 1 October 1881, through 28 January 1882. Later the book was republished as the novel Treasure Island and the book proved to be Stevenson's first financial and critical success. The American edition was issued in various colors.
Corners bumped and rubbed through, spine ends rubbed, some internal foxing and fingering, a little shaken, title darkened from frontispiece tissue guard else about a very good copy.
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