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R L Stevenson on Fiction

An Anthology of Literary and Critical Essays

Glenda Norquay

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£31.00

This new Anthology presents a fascinating range of Robert Louis Stevenson's essays on fiction. Better known now for the fiction he wrote himself than for his essays on the subject, this material nevertheless provides an illuminating insight in to the thoughts on the craft of writing from one of Scotland's most famous literary figures. Such writings have hitherto been scattered throughout editions of his collected works; here they are brought together in a new and revealing conjunction. Essays selected include 'A Humble Remonstrance', 'A Gossip on Romance', 'Books which have Influenced Me', 'A Chapter on Dreams' and 'Popular Authors'. They reveal Stevenson's fascination with the process of creativity and the imagination, his interventions in contemporary debates over realism, his exploration of literary hierarchies, his theories of narrative desire, and the pleasures and influences he derived from his own reading. Glenda Norquay introduces this collection with a broad-ranging discussion of Stevenson's essay writing. Each essay is also introduced by a brief preface and the highly specific references within the essays are backed up with explanatory notes, making the Anthology accessible to a wide readership.

About the Author

Glenda Norquay is Professor of Scottish Literary Studies at Liverpool John Moores University. Her books include a monograph on Robert Louis Stevenson and Theories of Reading, the edited collection Across the Margins (with Gerry Smyth), and a number of essays and articles on Scottish women writers and on Stevenson. She edited The Collected Works of Lorna Moon, and two collections of women’s suffrage fiction and is currently editing St Ives for the New Edinburgh Edition of Stevenson.

Reviews

It is not so much that this collection brings together some of Stevenson's most alluring essays. What is more to the point is that Norquay has acted upon the need to consolidate these insights into the practice of fiction. More to the point still, it is Norquay's alertness to the complexities of Stevenson's discursive writing that situates this edition high and above what it might otherwise have been, a mere compilation … Additionally, Norquay's editorial management, with its unrelenting attention to detail and studious clarity, benefits this edition tremendously The format of this book is particularly effective. Each essay is preceded by a short preface giving details of production, publication and reception. Likewise, the essays have been annotated with exceptional thoroughness. Given that they are intensely 'idiosyncratic and at times obscure to the modern reader', this edition provides a solid referential background where it is usually lacking.
The volume does valuable service by bringing together essays that have until now been available only in various editions of Stevenson's collected works. Norquay's well-written intorduction to Stevenson's essay-writing is one of the book's attractions.