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By William Golding

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The vintage, startling, and perennially bestselling portrait of human nature-now to be had as a top class variation with a beautiful new disguise and re-set, easy-to-read textual content.

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The letter-writing of empire always indicates its extent, but with Stevenson the range of his journeys everywhere goes further, and his activity as a letter writer is another way of recounting adventure, a method not without parallel among explorers of the period and before. Like others in his day, he often traveled in the least comfortable way, whether it be in the Cȳvennes in France, around Davos in Switzerland, in New York City, at Saranac in the Adirondack Mountains, crossing the United States by a miserable 舠emigrant train舡 (a journey that almost killed him on his way to meet his wife in San Francisco), or traveling by schooner to the Marquesas Islands, Tahiti, and Hawaii and thence to western Samoa, where, seeming to be settled for a change, he bought more than 300 acres of land on which he built Vailima.

Pharmacology could not alter the course of tuberculosis, and it was thought that bracing cold air in a clear mountain climate would remedy the disease. Stevenson spent the winters of 1880 and 1881 at Davos, was erroneously pronounced cured, and left for a life of continued wandering in search of a salubrious climate. Not surprisingly for those who have read The Magic Mountain or the life story of the poet John Keats (1795-1821), TB is a disease of fevers and a feverish existence. With Stevenson this hectic rhythm animated his virtually desperate travels; he became more of an explorer than a tourist, a restless voyager who knew he would never return home to his beloved country.

At the end of his life, settled in western Samoa, he wrote letters to condemn imperial abuses in the islands. The letter-writing of empire always indicates its extent, but with Stevenson the range of his journeys everywhere goes further, and his activity as a letter writer is another way of recounting adventure, a method not without parallel among explorers of the period and before. Like others in his day, he often traveled in the least comfortable way, whether it be in the Cȳvennes in France, around Davos in Switzerland, in New York City, at Saranac in the Adirondack Mountains, crossing the United States by a miserable 舠emigrant train舡 (a journey that almost killed him on his way to meet his wife in San Francisco), or traveling by schooner to the Marquesas Islands, Tahiti, and Hawaii and thence to western Samoa, where, seeming to be settled for a change, he bought more than 300 acres of land on which he built Vailima.

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