Arthur Ransome's Long-Lost Study of Robert Louis Stevenson

Arthur Ransome's Long-Lost Study of Robert Louis Stevenson

Edited by Kirsty Nichol Findlay


Hardback out of stock

eBook for Handhelds

Boydell Press



The Swallows and Amazons author's lost study of the author of Treasure Island, finally available with a substantial introduction detailing its rediscovery and Ransome's extraordinary early career.
This is the first publication of a remarkable book by Arthur Ransome, originally commissioned in 1910. The manuscript, nearly complete, was sequestered by Ransome's wife in 1914, and he never saw it again. It came to light only by chance, long after his death.
Arthur Ransome here gives an exceptionally personal and perceptive account of the strengths and weaknesses of Stevenson as man and writer. Writing when most books on Stevenson were biographical or merely adulatory, he intended his to be the first 'critical study'. The result is a fascinating and eager exposition by a yet-to-become-novelist of the writer who was to remain a lifelong inspiration. Here he wrestles to identify techniques that later underpin his Swallows and Amazons. Moreover, this is the only manuscript first draft of a work by Ransome to survive, and as such provides a unique insight into his working methods.
The appendices include all other extant material relating to Stevenson by Ransome, from his very first story (written at the age of eight, and hitherto published only privately) to working notes and articles in literary periodicals. The editor's substantial introduction gives a full account of the extraordinary history of the manuscript's development, disappearance, and rediscovery, and adds a new and enlightening chapter to the tumultuous story of Ransome's first marriage, early career, and escape to Russia.

KIRSTY NICHOL FINDLAY taught at the University of Waikato, and since retiring has been a Moderator in Drama for Trinity College London. Her publications relate to her special interests: Renaissance, Commonwealth, and children's literature.

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4 colour, 12 black and white illustrations
232 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Hardback, 9781843836728, September 2011
eBook for Handhelds, 9781782044444, September 2011
Boydell Press
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Table of Contents

A context for Arthur Ransome's Robert Louis Stevenson: A Critical Study
Parcel Post
Ransome and Literary London, 1902-1913
First Marriage and Ransome's Papers
The Stevenson Manuscript: Parcel and Exercise Book
Ransome and Stevenson
Writing Stevenson
Stevenson Abandoned
Ransome and the Stream of Stevenson Criticism
The Text, The Edition, The Acknowledgements
Robert Louis Stevenson: A Critical Study
Appendix A1: Ransome's 'Stevenson exercise-book' transcribed
Appendix A2: Additional material from the main manuscript
Appendix A3: Published article, 'As Happy As Kings' by Arthur Ransome
Appendix B1: Ransome's first story, 'The Desert Island', 1892
Appendix B2: 'The Plate-Glass Window', unsigned review article
Appendix B3: 'RLS' by 'K'
Appendix B4: Family trees for Stevenson and Ransome, including their extended families


[A] fascinating historical document [...] invaluable for its relevance to both Ransome and Stevenson and to the study of critical analysis. CHOICE

This excellent edition shows us what one gifted writer-critic thought of another. In addition the text also gives us unique insights into Ransome the writer and the man. CONTEMPORARY REVIEW

Will particularly appeal to serious Stevenson students. It provides a fascinating insight into Ransome's research methods and comments so soon after Stevenson's death. RLS CLUB NEWS

This are find is invaluable for its relevance to both Ransome and Stevenson and to the study of critical analysis. Recommended. CHOICE

[An] extremely interesting and scholarly work. [...] This is a book that anyone interested in either of the protagonists should undoubtedly read. ROYAL CRUISING CLUB NEWSLETTER

The chance to observe - freshly - an author's formative processes long after the completion of his work, and indeed his death, is rare, if not unique. That is the fascination of [this book] ... an extremely handsome edition. NEWSLETTER OF THE NANCY BLACKETT TRUST

What trouble [the editor] and the publishers have gone to, snatching the text back from oblivion and presenting it so beautifully - a long-lost manuscript by Dickens or Austen couldn't have had finer treatment. THE LITERARY REVIEW

A brave publishing venture. To be invited to eavesdrop on the way an adventurous writer responds to a pioneer of an earlier generation at a time when the world was about to change is illuminating on many levels. It tells us a great deal about Arthur Ransome. [...] In bringing Ransome's study to light Kirsty Nichol Findlay has done us a real service. THE SCOTSMAN

A fascinating book. [...] In dealing with effectively 3 books in 1, Ransome's literary and domestic life in Edwardian times, the RLS manuscript and the story of the manuscript; the Editor has used the rope makers' skill of weaving the three strands into an effective result. This book is an essential for the serious student of either writer and is particularly revealing about Ransome's early writing style. With the continual reassessment of Robert Louis Stevenson in the 21st Century, this book will add much weight to any future evaluation. WWW.ALLTHINGSRANSOME.NET