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Quest for Robert Louis Stevenson, The

The Quest for Robert Louis Stevenson

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A puzzle to his friends and family in his lifetime, RLS still remains something of an enigma, even to Stevenson enthusiasts. Years of restless wandering led him to tropical Samoa, where he found not only well-being, but a release of the passionate potential that had been in him from his chilly beginnings in Edinburgh. This virtual paradise, however, was marred by the eccentric behaviour of his wife, Fanny Osbourne. In this book, John Cairney explores their relationship and other fascinating aspects of Stevenson's life.
Title The Quest for Robert Louis Stevenson
Author John Cairney
ISBN 9780946487875
Binding Hardback
Author Bio John Cairney, 'The Man Who Played Robert Burns' is an actor, writer, lecturer and football fan. After National Service 1948-50 Cairney enrolled at the Glasgow College of Drama and the University of Glasgow simultaneously, graduating in drama in 1953. In 1989 he gained an MLitt from Glasgow University for a History of Solo Theatre and in 1994 a PhD from Victoria University, Wellington for his study of R.L. Stevenson and Theatre. Cairney's professional association with Burns began in 1965 with the one man show, There Was A Man by Tom Wright. In 1968 he wrote and starred in a six-part serial of the Burns story for Scottish Television, Burns. From 1975-79 his company Shanter Productions organised a Burns festival in Ayr. From 1974-81 he toured the world with his solo version of The Robert Burns Story and from 1981-85 he toured with his wife, New Zealand actress Alannah O'Sullivan, in The Burns Experience. In 1986 Shanter Productions presented the first full-length modern Burns musical There Was A Lad. In 1996 in commemoration of the Burns International Year a video, Robert Burns: An Immortal Memory, was issued, written and narrated by Cairney. Prior to and interspersed between these performances he played a multitude of other characters on stage, radio, television and film. His films include Jason and the Argonauts, Victim and A Night to Remember. His theatre work includes Cyrano de Bergerac at Newcastle; C. S. Lewis in Shadowlands at the Court Theatre, Christchurch as well as Murder in the Cathedral and Macbeth at the Edinburgh Festival. On television he played the lead in This Man Craig as well as appearing in many other popular series. Since 1990 Cairney has lived in Auckland, New Zealand. He has written two autobiographies and is still very much in demand as a lecturer, writer and consultant on all aspects of Burns.
Back Cover Text In The Quest for Robert Louis Stevenson John Cairney offers an original perspective on Scotland’s finest writer of English prose, examining the intimate relationships in the fascinating life of Robert Louis Stevenson, and their often destructive effects on his personality and work.

During his many travels in search of health, Stevenson gathered not only a literary fame but also an extended family of hangers-on. Years of restless wandering led him finally to tropical Samoa, where he found wellbeing and a release of the passionate potential that had been in him from his chilly beginnings in Edinburgh. But as he came into his own as a writer, his wife, Fanny Osbourne, retreated into paranoia and eccentric behaviour and lost him his final chance to find real happiness. A compelling read, The Quest for Robert Louis Stevenson sheds new light on the complicated life of the man behind the famous stories – Treasure Island, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Kidnapped.
Reviews John Cairney gets better by the book. – Prof Alistair Knight

This is a highly-individual look at RLS’s life, told with the passion of someone who recognises in Stevenson a fellow spirit. – Scots Magazine May 2004

This book opens up the complex life of Stevenson and offers a different perspective on the man and his work. – Words: The Stevenson Edition

…very accessible biography of the author and his retinue. – The Herald

Fifty plus years as an actor, especially in solo theatre, has enabled the author to get to the heart of his subject, exploring the many attributes and emotions of this often elusive man. – The Scots Magazine
Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Grit and Grace

Capter 2 A Daft-like Laddie

Chapter 3 Love, What is Love?

Chapter 4 The Reluctant Advocate

Chapter 5 The Illogical Adventure

Chapter 6 A Steady Determination

Chapter 7 Marriage in extremis

Chapter 8 Child of Air

Chapter 9 A Shilling Shocker

Chapter 10 Divided Loyalties

Chapter 11 Such Beautiful Scenes

Chapter 12 A Very Meaningful Relationship

Chapter 13 The Breakthrough

Chapter 14 The Speaking Chief

Chapter 15 Less Afraid of a Petticoat

Chapter 16 Against the Tide


A Stevenson Chronology


BIC Subject Biography: historical, political & military
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