Thursday, March 24, 2011

Robert Louis Stevenson and Edinburgh

Edmund Gosse on Robert Louis Stevenson and Edinburgh:

Stevenson was not very happy in Edinburgh, and yet not perfectly happy anywhere else. He was severe on the climate and architecture of Edinburgh, but when Glasgow people rejoiced he told them to wait a while, for he had not written his book about Glasgow yet. Stevenson told me that, as a youth, he used to hang over the Waverley Bridge watching the trains start southward and longing to start too. He shrank from the cold for he was delicate; and he shrank from the somewhat excessive piety that surrounded him. But he loved Edinburgh with a passionate love, and in the tropical atmosphere of Samoa he was always longing to go back to the Gray Metropolis of the North.

(From Rosaline Massin, ed., I Can Remember Robert Louis Stevenson, 1922.)

The book obliquely referred to above is doubtless Stevenson's Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes, one of my favourites. For some choice quotations from it, the city in Stevenson's own words, click here.


Anonymous said...

I rather think I know how Stevenson felt. Glasgow is very much home to me but I'd rather live somewhere several degrees warmer!

Suko said...

I visited Edinburgh briefly many years ago, and I remember the green hills and castles more than the weather, although I do think it was cold, damp, and drizzly.


..[___]..---{Hip, hip for ole RLS}

Edie said...

thank you for this review... seems to be an inspiring book

best wishes,

jkraus8464 said...

Interesting post. I have an old copy of his book, A Child's Garden of Verses, around 1950-1960, because it was given to me as a child. I love it.

Care Burpee said...

Love the calibre of books you review! I have awarded you The Stylish Blogger Award on my blog. If you are interested in passing it along, I would love to have you visit my blog.

Ann Summerville said...

Interesting. I always thought that R.L. Stevenson was practically bed ridden because of some disability/disease. Apparently not. I need to read more about him.