Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson (13 November 1850 3 December 1894) was a 19th century Scottish writer and traveler who is well-known for his novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (the plot was revealed to him in a dream), as well as other novels such as Treasure Island and Kidnapped. However, his bibliography is very extensive, as he also wrote poetry and several essays.
Stevenson was admired by many higher-ups in literature such as Jorge Luis Borges and G. K. Chesterton. Both of them were great fans of Stevenson's accessible, nigh-perfect prose. Henry James liked his works so much that he used Treasure Island when needing an example of a novel that perfectly did what it set out to do.
Though he wrote many books, his work was drastically cut short, as Stevenson died at 44 due to health problems in Upolu, one of the Samoan islands. The inscription on his tombstone became a well-known and still-sung Grief Song for many Samoans.
Some of his stories are:
- Treasure Island
- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
- The Bottle Imp
- New Arabian Nights
- The Sire de Maletroit's Door
- The Wrong Box
- The Body Snatcher
- Weir Of Hermiston
- The Pavilion on the Links
- The Master of Ballantrae
- The Black Arrow
Most of his works can be read at Project Gutenberg.
His works contain examples of the following tropes:
- Chromosome Casting: The majority of Stevenson's works have a cast of characters that are predominantly male.
- Deal with the Devil: The Bottle Imp has the titular bottle which can grant its owner every wish, but whoever owns it will go to Hell after death. The only way to get rid of the bottle is to sell it to another person for a smaller price than you bought it for.
- Gothic Literature: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Olalla and The Body Snatcher fit the bill.
- Historical Fiction: Stevenson has dabbled in a few, such as Kidnapped (set in the aftermath of the Jacobite rising of 1745) and The Black Arrow (set during the War of the Roses).
- Jekyll & Hyde: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde would become the Trope Maker, with the titular characters setting the foundation for adaptations and characters with the trait down the road.
- Kid Hero: Jim Hawkins from Treasure Island and David Balfour from Kidnapped.