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Full text of "Selected Essays Of Robert Louis Stevenson"

I

A COLLEGE MAGAZINE

THIS Essay is chiefly interesting for the light which it throws
upon the genesis of Stevenson's style, Stevenson was not a born
writer. He learnt the art by playing the " sedulous ape ' to various
classical authors, and it was only by constant practice that lie
gradually evolved the style which has made his work so peculiarly
distinctive. Nothing could be more charming than the genial
way in which Stevenson takes the reader into his confidence and
opens Ms heart to him. Stevenson is nothing if not personal in
all he writes. This essay should be read in conjunction with the
Essays in the Art of Writing, which gives Stevenson's literary creed
in full. The magazine was the Edinburgh University Magazine.

Hazlitt (1778-1830), essayist and critic, admired by Stevenson,
who once contemplated writing his life ; Lamlb (1775-1834), author
of the inimitable Essays of Etta-, Wordsworth (1770-1850), the
leader with Coleridge of the 4 Return to Xature ' and the Romantic
Reaction; Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), the antiquarian,
whose quaint and gorgeous prose is best known to us in Belifji®
Medici and Urn Bund; Deioe (1661-1731), the first of English
journalists and novelists, noted for the realism and simplicity of
his style; Hawthorne (1804-1864), American novelist? famous
chiefly for The Scarlet letter, Tanglewood Tales and the Blithedale
Romance; Montaigne (1533-1592), the father of the modern Essay;
Baudelaire (1821-1867), the morbid, exotic, but exquisite author
of Fkurs du Mai (1857); Ofoermann (1804), the masterpiece of
Senancour, known to English readers through Matthew Arnold's
famous stanzas.

Ruskin (1819-1900), social reformer and art critic, famous as
the author of Modern Painters, The Seven Lamps of Architecture,
The Stones of Venice, and a number of shorter works, such as
Sesame and Lilies, Unto this Last, etc.

pasticcio, patch-work,

Sordello (1840), Browning's great but incomprehensible narrative
poem, dealing with a mediaeval Italian soldier-poet mentioned by
Dante.

Keats (1725-1821), wrote narrative poems in many styles. His
best, Endymion, is in loose heroic verse; Lamia is a more restrained
poem in the same manner; The Eve of St. Agnes and Isabella and
. The Pot of Basil are in stanza form,

II                                      131