Amazon.com description: Product Description
: Treasure Island is an adventure novel by author Robert Louis Stevenson, narrating a tale of "buccaneers and buried gold". Its influence is enormous on popular perceptions of pirates, including such elements as treasure maps marked with an "X", schooners, the Black Spot, tropical islands, and one-legged seamen bearing parrots on their shoulders. Treasure Island was originally considered a coming-of-age story and is noted for its atmosphere, characters, and action. It is one of the most frequently dramatized of all novels. It was originally serialized in the children's magazine Young Folks between 1881 through 1882 under the title Treasure Island, or the mutiny of the Hispaniola, credited to the pseudonym "Captain George North". It was first published as a book on 14 November 1883, by Cassell & Co. Stevenson conceived the idea of Treasure Island (originally titled, "The Sea Cook: A Story for Boys") from a map of an imaginary, romantic island idly drawn by Stevenson and his stepson Lloyd Osbourne on a rainy day in Braemar, Scotland. Stevenson had just returned from his first stay in America, with memories of poverty, illness, and adventure (including his recent marriage), and a warm reconciliation between his parents had been established. Stevenson himself said in designing the idea of the story that, "It was to be a story for boys; no need of psychology or fine writing; and I had a boy at hand to be a touchstone. Women were excluded... and then I had an idea for Long John Silver from which I promised myself funds of entertainment; to take an admired friend of mine... to deprive him of all his finer qualities and higher graces of temperament, and to leave him with nothing but his strength, his courage, his quickness, and his magnificent geniality, and to try to express these in terms of the culture of a raw tarpaulin." Completing 15 chapters in as many days, Stevenson was interrupted by illness and, after leaving Scotland, continued working on the first draft outside London. While there, his father provided additional impetus, as the two discussed points of the tale, and Stevenson's father was the one who suggested the scene of Jim in the apple barrel and the name of Walrus for Captain Flint's ship. Two general types of sea novels were popular during the 19th century: the navy yarn, which places a capable officer in adventurous situations amid realistic settings and historical events; and the desert island romance, which features shipwrecked or marooned characters confronted by treasure-seeking pirates or angry natives. Around 1815, the latter genre became one of the most popular fictional styles in Great Britain, perhaps because of the philosophical interest in Rousseau and Chateaubriand's "noble savage." It is obvious that Treasure Island was a climax of this development. The growth of the desert island genre can be traced back to 1719 when Daniel Defoe's legendary Robinson Crusoe was published. A century later, novels such as S. H. Burney's The Shipwreck (1816), and Sir Walter Scott's The Pirate (1822) continued to expand upon the strong influence of Defoe's classic. Other authors, however, in the mid 19th-century, continued this work, including James Fenimore Cooper's The Pilot (1823). During the same period, Edgar Allan Poe wrote, "MS Found in a Bottle" (1833) and the intriguing tale of buried treasure, "The Gold-Bug" (1843). All of these works influenced Stevenson's end product. Specifically, however, Stevenson consciously borrowed material from previous authors. In a July 1884 letter to Sidney Colvin, he writes "Treasure Island came out of Kingsley's At Last, where I got the Dead Man's Chest—and that was the seed—and out of the great Captain Johnson's History of the Notorious Pirates." Stevenson also admits that he took the idea of Captain Flint's skeleton point from Poe's "The Gold-Bug," and he constructed Billy Bones' history from the pages of Washington Irving, one of his favorite writers.