April 16, 2012

Treasure Island

Robert Louis Stevenson, 1883
Young Jim Hawkins, in
search of treasure, becomes a
brave and fearless man

This was Stevenson's first success and there's a great story that goes along with it. His stepson one day was making a map, which Stevenson soon embellished to become a treasure map. Along with the map, stories were spun, and with his family's help and suggestions, he began writing Treasure Island. Some of the story was even written by family members. It wasn't long before a children's publisher picked it up chapter by chapter.

I love the story of how the novel came to be, but I'm also fascinated by how much the descriptions of pirate life have permeated our modern idea of the buccaneer. From X-marked treasure maps to one-legged pirates, and parrots on shoulders, Stevenson's inventions have influenced writers and filmmakers for years. Disney lovers be grateful, for without Long John Silver, there probably would not be a Jack Sparrow. (PG)

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