Selected and introduced by Jenni Calder.
Ill health drove Robert Louis Stevenson from Scotland; the urge for new and adventurous places drew him to the Pacific. There were those at home who would have been happier to see him purely as a spinner of the picturesque, but Stevenson could not close his eyes to the impact of colonialism, the ‘stir-about of epochs and races, barbarisms and civilizations, virtues and crimes’.
This collection sets three of his imaginative works —The Bottle Imp, The Isle of Voices, and The Beach of Falesa — within the social and political contexts of Stevenson’s letters and essays from the South Seas. Island ambience, the clash of cultures, moral ambiguities, all are there, and so too is Stevenson’s swift narrative control, giving a true modernity to his prose.