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Durham e-Theses
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It looks like a lamplit vicious fairy land behind me: Robert Louis Stevenson and Scotland

McGlynn, Adrian Stewart (1991) It looks like a lamplit vicious fairy land behind me: Robert Louis Stevenson and Scotland. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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Abstract

This thesis concerns a man and his home country, exploring the physical, the emotional and the imaginative bonding of the two. The man is Robert Louis Stevenson. A frail, consumptive novelist, poet and Scot, who transcended his infirmities to create romantic heroes of magnificent adventures, and transcended his self-imposed exile by setting them amidst the heather. The country is Scotland, a country which nurtured and debilitated, inspired and repelled Stevenson. It was also one in which he was ultimately unable to survive. Stevenson was not solely a Scottish writer, just as he is not solely a children's writer. His work does reflect his peripatetic life, but the purpose of this thesis is to focus upon his Scottish fiction. It will argue that it was in these works that his imagination and his artistic skills fused best. Scotland’s influence upon Stevenson will be seen as twofold. Firstly, the geographical and historical impressions which were made upon him, and secondly, the traditions of superstion which so characterised its people. A study of Stevenson's non-fictional portrait of Edinburgh will be made to elucidate his continued impulse to write about Scotland and what it meant to be Scottish. Stevenson’s Scottish fiction will be shown as far more than the laments of a homesick ex-pat. In recognising the viciousness of his fairyland, perceiving the skull beneath the skin, Stevenson gave to his fiction and his Scotland a richness and vitality which might not have been possible had he been a comfortable resident of a comfortable Edinburgh house.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1991
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Dec 2012 12:03

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