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Treasure Island (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 13 Jan 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; New edition (13 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199560358
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199560356
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 1.5 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (826 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh in 1850. The son of a prosperous civil engineer, he was expected to follow the family profession, but was allowed to study law at Edinburgh University. Stevenson reacted strongly against the Presbyterian respectability of the city's professional classes and this led to painful clashes with his parents. In his early twenties he became afflicted with a severe respiratory illness from which he was to suffer for the rest of his life; it was at this time that he determined to become a professional writer. The effects of the often harsh Scottish climate on his poor health forced him to spend long periods abroad. After a great deal of travelling he eventually settled in Samoa, where he died on 3 December 1894.

Stevenson's Calvinistic upbringing gave him a preoccupation with pre-destination and a fascination with the presence of evil. In Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde he explores the darker side of the human psyche, and the character of the Master in The Master of Ballantrae (1889) was intended to be 'all I know of the Devil'. Stevenson is well known for his novels of historical adventure, including Treasure Island (1883), Kidnapped (1886) and Catriona (1893). As Walter Allen comments in The English Novel, 'His rediscovery of the art of narrative, of conscious and cunning calculation in telling a story so that the maximum effect of clarity and suspense is achieved, meant the birth of the novel of action as we know it.' But these works also reveal his knowledge and feeling for the Scottish cultural past. During the last years of his life Stevenson's creative range developed considerably, and The Beach of Falesá brought to fiction the kind of scene now associated with Conrad and Maugham. At the time of his death Robert Louis Stevenson was working on his unfinished masterpiece, Weir of Hermiston. He also wrote works of non-fiction, notably his descriptive and historical books on the South Seas area, A Footnote to History (1892) and In the South Seas (1896), as well as his celebrated defence of Father Damien, the Belgian priest who devoted his life to caring for lepers, in Father Damien; an open letter to the Reverend Hyde of Honolulu (1890).

Product Description


"Easily accessible, bottom-of-the-page notes provide outstanding illumination of the text's literary and historical contexts, particularly biblical and nautical references that might otherwise elude modern readers. No other edition provides a better insight into the (sometimes murky) compositional processes behind this classic work of fiction. For fans of Sutherland's unique detective-style readings, the appendix of 'puzzles and conundrums' will prove an added bonus."--Roslyn Jolly, University of New South Wales --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale of aventure and treachery, read by Richard Griffiths. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Sept. 2000
Format: Hardcover
Sadly Hollywood has probably duped you with their lame film versions. Even Robert Newton with his laughable caricature. Make no mistake, this book holds immense appeal for children and adults.... especially adults. Jim Hawkins tells how his life gradually becomes entangled with a dark underworld bent on a search for Flint's treasure. Having thwarted the gentleman of Fortune and taken the map from under their noses, the expedition of Captain Smollett, Squire Trelawny, Doctor Livesy and Jim Hawkins naively take the pirates on as crew, with Silver as their leader. Their murderous plotting is only accidentally revealed to the honest men at the crucial moment, just before the lookout sights the island.
The simple narrative style of Jim and the slightly childish romance can easily deceive you into ignoring a book full of violent adventure. No modern childrens author would relish such simple evil: "Silver, agile as a monkey, even without leg or crutch, was on top of him next moment, and had twice buried his knife up to the hilt in that defenceless body. from my place of ambush, I could hear him pant aloud as he struck the blows."
Anyone in any doubt about the character of Long John Silver would do well to read Bjorn Larsen's superb 'Long John Silver - The true and eventful History of my Life of Liberty and Adventure as a Gentleman of Fortune and Enemy to Mankind.
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82 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 May 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Treasure Island is one of a small number of books that are both for children and adults. The appeal of the book for children relates to the story line: pirates, buried treasure, sea voyages to faraway places, and a boy hero. The appeal of the book for adults is in seeing a wonderful example of how events operate at many different levels. Long John Silver quickly becomes the focus for adults. What is his true nature? What will he do next? Clearly, Silver is one of the most interesting and memorable of all fictional characters.
A problem that children will have with this book is that the language is somewhat foreign to them. Some adults and children will find that the book starts slowly compared to newer novels (which often have the equivalent of a chase sequence in the first 5 pages).
My advice is to stick with the story for the first 6 chapters, and see how you are doing. By that time, the story will either have cast its spell on you, or you will be able to tell that this book is not for you.
A final reason for reading Treasure Island is because the book has been read by so many people. You will find references to the story in other literature and in conversation with others. You will also run into establishments called The Admiral Benbow Inn. It would be a shame not ot know its heritage. Also, finding someone else who likes Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver for the same reasons you do is a great shortcut to becoming better acquainted.
Personally, I found the story irresistible. I would have written a very similar book if I had the skill to do so. The plot is nicely balanced, and the characters provide an unusual perspective for what could easily have been a real potboiler with little to recommend it. The book has great charm, given its focus on pirates, which makes it compelling for me. I have now read the book 3 times, and enjoyed it more each time.
Have a great read!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Alexis Paladin on 19 May 2009
Format: Paperback
There are certain books that are so deeply embedded in our history and culture that you somehow feel you have read them even if you have not. Treasure Island is one such book. I remember as a child watching the film version at Christmas and being so terrified by both Long John Silver and, perhaps oddly, by Ben Gunn, that I almost couldn't watch. At the same time I was unsurprisingly very enamoured of brave young Jim the boy hero with whom I of course felt I could identify.

So it was with this legacy that I picked the book up some thirty years later to finally actually read it. Two things in particular surprised me in the opening chapters, firstly I had no idea how wonderfully gothic the start of the book is. The creaking Admiral Benbow Inn provides a suitably sinister backdrop for the macabre triumvirate of Captain Bill, Black Dog and best of all Blind Pew, as they `graah' and `aaahh' their way into the story. All are much larger than life but no worse for it and are clearly templates, along with Long John Silver, for many, many fictional `gentleman of fortune' who have graced page and screen since, not least Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow. Secondly I was surprised by the protagonist and narrator Jim. He is a genuinely independent boy hero with more than his fair share of wilfulness and impetuosity mixed in with the predictable obedience and piety. As the story unfolds, his apparent determination to do whatever he wants seems to grow to the point where he is in danger of becoming rather irritating. Twice he recklessly abandons his friends but on both occasions his absconding proves eventually, to his and his friends' advantage. A hero indeed with the sort of youthful exuberance and stubbornness with which every child can relate.
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