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Treasure Island is an adventure novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, narrating a tale of "buccaneers and buried gold". First published as a book on 23 May 1883, it was originally serialized in the children's magazine Young Folks between 1881 and 1882 under the title Treasure Island or, the mutiny of the Hispaniola with Stevenson adopting the pseudonym Captain George North.
The novel opens in the seaside village of Black Hill Cove in south-west England (to Stevenson, in his letters and in the related fictional play Admiral Guinea, near Barnstaple, Devon) in the mid-18th century. Stevenson deliberately leaves the exact date of the novel obscure, the narrator, James "Jim" Hawkins, the young son of the owners of the Admiral Benbow Inn, writing that he takes up his pen "in the year of grace 17—." An old drunken seaman named Billy Bones arrives at the inn singing "that old sea-song"
"Fifteen men on the dead man's chest--Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!"
Bones becomes a long-term lodger at the inn, only paying for about the first week of his stay. Jim quickly realizes that Bones is in hiding, and that he particularly dreads meeting an unidentified seafaring man with one leg. Some months later, Bones is visited by a mysterious sailor named Black Dog. Their meeting turns violent, Black Dog flees and Bones suffers a stroke. While Jim cares for him, Bones confesses that he was once the mate of a notorious late pirate, Captain Flint, and that his old crewmates want Bones' sea chest. Some time later, another of Bones' crew mates, a blind man named Pew, appears at the inn and forces Jim to lead him to Bones. Pew gives Bones a paper. After Pew leaves, Bones opens the paper to discover it is marked with the Black Spot, a pirate summons, with the warning that he has until ten o'clock to meet their demands. Bones drops dead of apoplexy (in this context, a stroke) on the spot. Jim and his mother open Bones' sea chest to collect the amount due to them for Bones' room and board, but before they can count out the money that they are owed, they hear pirates approaching the inn and are forced to flee and hide, Jim taking with him a mysterious oilskin packet from the chest. The pirates, led by Pew, find the sea chest and the money, but are frustrated that there is no sign of "Flint's fist". Customs men approach and the pirates escape to their vessel (all except for Pew, who is accidentally run down and killed by the agents' horses).
The work is commonly associated with the rare mental condition often called "split personality", referred to in psychiatry as dissociative identity disorder, where within the same body there exists more than one distinct personality. In this case, there are two personalities within Dr. Jekyll, one apparently good and the other evil. The novella's impact is such that it has become a part of the language, with the very phrase "Jekyll and Hyde" coming to mean a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next.
There have been many audio recordings of the novella, with some of the more famous readers including Tom Baker, Roger Rees, Christopher Lee, Anthony Quayle, Martin Jarvis, Tim Pigott-Smith, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Gene Lockhart.
The novel is set around 18th-century Scottish events, notably the "Appin Murder", which occurred near Ballachulish in 1752 in the aftermath of the Jacobite rising of 1745. Many of the characters were real people, including one of the principals, Alan Breck Stewart. The political situation of the time is portrayed from different viewpoints, and the Scottish Highlanders are treated sympathetically.
I SET OFF UPON MY JOURNEY TO THE HOUSE OF SHAWS
I will begin the story of my adventures with a certain morning early in the month of June, the year of grace 1751, when I took the key for the last time out of the door of my father's house. The sun began to shine upon the summit of the hills as I went down the road; and by the time I had come as far as the manse, the blackbirds were whistling in the garden lilacs, and the mist that hung around the valley in the time of the dawn was beginning to arise and die away.
Mr. Campbell, the minister of Essendean, was waiting for me by the garden gate, good man! He asked me if I had breakfasted; and hearing that I lacked for nothing, he took my hand in both of his and clapped it kindly under his arm.
"Well, Davie, lad," said he, "I will go with you as far as the ford, to set you on the way." And we began to walk forward in silence.
First produced to great acclaim as part of London's Free Theatre Festival on the South Bank in 2005, this swashbuckling stage adaptation brings out all the comedy and adventure of this ever-popular story. The play can be simply staged, is suitable for performance by kids and adults and can be adapted to suit a large company or a small team playing several roles.
Complete with a Life & Times section for each author, which offers insights into their lives, works and the time of publication, and a handy glossary adapted from the Collins English Dictionary, this Collins Classics Collection will enhance your reading experience.
DRACULA: This dark, brooding and powerfully atmospheric novel is a classic of gothic literature, casting light on the darkness of the human psyche, and exploiting our deepest fears.
TALES OF MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION: Including Poe’s most terrifying, grotesque and haunting short stories, Tales of Mystery and Imagination is the ultimate collection of the infamous author’s macabre works.
THE STRANGE CASE OF DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE: Stevenson's quintessential novella of the Victorian era epitomizes the conflict between psychology, science and religious morality, but is fundamentally a triumphant study of the duality of human nature.
FRANKENSTEIN: In the most famous gothic horror story ever told, Shelley confronts the limitations of science, the nature of human cruelty and the pathway to forgiveness with rich language and evocative imagery.
In many ways, Lewis’s influence has been even wider than Tolkien’s. For in addition to the Narnia series, Lewis wrote groundbreaking works of science fiction, urban fantasy, and religious allegory, and he came to be regarded as among the most important Christian writers of the twentieth century. It will come as no surprise, then, that such a wide-ranging talent drew inspiration from a variety of sources. Here are twenty of the tributaries that fed Lewis’s unique talent, among them:
“The Wood That Time Forgot: The Enchanted Wood,” taken from a never-before-published fantasy by Lewis’s biographer and friend, Roger Lancelyn Green, that directly inspired The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; E. Nesbit’s charming “The Aunt and Amabel,” in which a young girl enters another world by means of a wardrobe; “The Snow Queen,” by Hans Christian Andersen, featuring the abduction of a young boy by a woman as cruel as she is beautiful; and many more, including works by Charles Dickens, Kenneth Grahame, G. K. Chesterton, and George MacDonald, of whom Lewis would write, “I have never concealed the fact that I regarded him as my master.”
Full of fascinating insights into Lewis’s life and fiction, Tales Before Narnia is the kind of book that will be treasured by children and adults alike and passed down lovingly from generation to generation.
INCLUDING SEVENTEEN MORE WORKS BY THE PROGENITORS OF MODERN FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION:
“Tegnér’s Drapa” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“The Magic Mirror” by George MacDonald
“Undine” by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué
“Letters from Hell: Letter III” by Valdemar Thisted
“Fastosus and Avaro” by John Macgowan
“The Tapestried Chamber; or, The Lady in the Sacque” by Sir Walter Scott
“The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton” by Charles Dickens
“The Child and the Giant” by Owen Barfield
“A King’s Lesson” by William Morris
“The Waif Woman: A Cue—From a Saga” by Robert Louis Stevenson
“First Whisper of The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame
“The Wish House” by Rudyard Kipling
“Et in Sempiternum Pereant” by Charles Williams
“The Dragon’s Visit” by J.R.R. Tolkien
“The Coloured Lands” by G. K. Chesterton
“The Man Who Lived Backwards” by Charles F. Hall
“The Dream Dust Factory” by William Lindsay Gresham