The University of Wisconsin Press


Literature & Criticism / British Studies


Robert Louis Stevenson
Writer of Boundaries
Edited by Richard Ambrosini and Richard Dury


“The pick of the papers delivered at an international conference on Robert Louis Stevenson.”
—Dick Ringler, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Robert Louis Stevenson: Writer of Boundaries reinstates Stevenson at the center of critical debate and demonstrates the sophistication of his writings and the present relevance of his kaleidoscopic achievements. While most young readers know Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894) as the author of Treasure Island, few people outside of academia are aware of the breadth of his literary output. The contributors to Robert Louis Stevenson: Writer of Boundaries look, with varied critical approaches, at the whole range of his literary production and unite to confer scholarly legitimacy on this enormously influential writer who has been neglected by critics.

As the editors point out in their Introduction, Stevenson reinvented the “personal essay” and the “walking tour essay,” in texts of ironic stylistic brilliance that broke completely with Victorian moralism. His first full-length work of fiction, Treasure Island, provocatively combined a popular genre (subverting its imperialist ideology) with a self-conscious literary approach.

Stevenson, one of Scotland’s most prolific writers, was very effectively excluded from the canon by his twentieth-century successors and rejected by Anglo-American Modernist writers and critics for his play with popular genres and for his non-serious metaliterary brilliance. While Stevenson’s critical recognition has been slowly increasing, there have been far fewer published single-volume studies of his works than those of his contemporaries, Henry James and Joseph Conrad.

Richard Ambrosini is professor of English literature at the Università di Roma Tre, and Richard Dury is professor of English at the Università di Bergamo.

Inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at publicity@uwpress.wisc.edu or (608) 263-0734.


the cover of Ambrosini and Dury's book is an illustration of a surreal landscape, with what looks like a large head half hidden behind palm trees or distant island mountains

January 2006
LC: 2005011165 PR
400 pp.  6 x 9
6 b/w drawings


Cloth OUT OF PRINT
ISBN 978-0-299-21220-9
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ISBN 978-0-299-21224-7
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