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Full text of "Selected Essays Of Robert Louis Stevenson"

132                                 NOTES

Chaucer (1340-1400), the father of English poetry ; the simplicity
and inimitable narrative style of the Canterbury Tales greatly
influenced his avowed disciple, William Morris (1834-1896), in
The Earthly Paradise.

Swinburne (1837-1909) ; perhaps the youthful Stevenson essayed
to rival Chastelard or Bothii-ell.

John Webster (1580-1625), a late Elizabethan dramatist, famous
for his grim and blood-thirsty tragedies : the Duchess of Malfi is
one of the best-known of these.

' Congreve (1670-1729), the Restoration dramatist, author of the
Mourning Bride and many comedies.

Book of Snofos (1858), Thackeray's cruel satire on the Victorian
age, republished from Punch.

Old Dumas. Dumas the Elder (1802-1870), author of the Three
Musketeers and its sequels, one of Stevenson's first favourites,
along with Montaigne, Moliere, Shakespeare, Scott and Meredith.
See his ' Gossip on a Novel of Dumas' in Memories and Portraits,
and ' Books which have influenced me.'

strangely battered. The reference is to Deacon Brodie, recast by
Henley.

Prince Otto, Stevenson's novel, published in 1885, a romance
of German court life, showing obvious signs that he had played the
* sedulous ape ' to George Meredith.

Cieero (106-43 B.C.), Roman orator, statesman and philosopher,
and a model of Latin prose-style.

Burns (1759-1796), the prince of Scotch poets ; see Stevenson's
essay on * Some aspects of Robert Burns' in Familiar Studies of
Men and Books.

II
BOOKS  WHICH HAVE  INFLUENCED  ME

This essay should be read in continuation with the last, with
' Rosa Quo Locorum,' and with ' A Gossip on a Novel of Dumas's,'
all of which furnish a clue to the origin of Stevenson's art. In the
latter he tells us, * One or two of Scott's novels, Shakespeare,
Moliere, Montaigne, The Egoist and The Vicomte de Bragelonne
form the inner circle of my intimates. Behind these come a good
troop of dear acquaintances ; The Pilgrim's Progress in the front
rank, The Bible in Spain not far behind.' Moliere he puts next to
Shakespeare, ' the next greatest name in Christendom ' (surely an
exaggeration !) ; of Scott he most admires Guy Mannering, Rob
Roy and Redgauntlet. The Egoist he has read four or five
times: the Vicomte five or six. It will be noticed that these
books deal mostly with action: Stevenson has little sympathy
with sentimentality or morbid self-introspection. He disliked the
* crowning offence' of Goethe's Werther. Yet nothing was
further from him than any form of priggishness ; he enjoyed Burton's
Arabian Nights with the same relish as The Pilgrim's Progress !

Vieomte de Bragelonne. The Three Musketeers (1844), a romance
in eight volumes, told how D'Artagnan, with the three musketeers