Edinburgh Companion to RLS published this month
Later this month, the Edinburgh Companion to Robert Louis Stevenson will be published, edited by Penny Fielding, one of the General Editors of the New Edinburgh Edition. This wide-ranging collection of essays is the first to set Stevenson in detailed social, political and literary contexts, taking account of both Stevenson’s extraordinary thematic and generic diversity and his geographical range. The chapters explore his relation to late-19th-century publishing, psychology, travel, the colonial world and the emergence of modernism in prose and poetry. Through the pivotal figure of Stevenson, the collection explores how literary publishing and cultural life changed across the second half of the 19th century. Stevenson emerges as a complex writer, author both of hugely popular boys’ stories and of seminally important adult novels, as well as the literary figure who debated with Henry James the theory of fiction and the nature of realism. The collection shows how interest in the unconscious and changes in the conception of childhood demand that we re-evaluate our ideas of his writing. Individual essays by international experts trace Stevenson’s literary contexts from Scotland to the South Pacific, and show him to be one of the key writers for understanding the growing sense of globalisation and cultural heterogeneity in the late 19th century.