'Merry of Soul': The legacy of Robert Louis Stevenson

Writer Simon Winchester explores Stevenson's life and proves why he is still loved today

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Robert Louis Stevenson was sickly, often coughing blood. It was thought he would die young and in fact he did, a century ago, at age 44. But not before hiking and canoeing and sailing over half the world, chasing the woman he wanted to marry from England to New York and across the continent to San Francisco, and turning out dozens of poems and stories, the best known and best loved being Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

With great affection and knowledge, writer Simon Winchester explores Stevenson's brave, joyous and pain-wracked life from its rebellious start in dour Edinburgh to its end on the island of Samoa where he finally came to rest. He makes clear why Stevenson is still loved not only for his stories but for adventurous life he lived.

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