(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Selected Essays Of Robert Louis Stevenson"

king' who tried to practise in actual life the precepts of the Stoic
philosophy. His wonderful Meditations, full of the highest and
noblest thoughts on life and conduct, is best studied in Long's
translation. The student should read Matthew Arnold's essay on
this subject.

Wordsworth (1770-1850), the chief of the Lake poets, brought
about the great revolution in poetic diction by his Lyrical Ballads
in 1798. In 1805 appeared The Prelude and in 1815 The Excursion.
Wordsworth was writing steadily till his death. He ranks only
after Shakespeare and Milton on the roll of English poetry. The
austere simplicity of his diction, his sincerity, and his conviction
expressed in almost every line he writes, of the * oneness of Nature,'
are his distinguishing features.

Mil!. John Stuart Mill, philosopher and Liberal politician
(1806-1873), author of A System of Logic (1843), Political Economy,
(1848) and many other works.

The Egoist. George Meredith's masterpiece (1879), ' a triumph
of wit and knowledge of human nature.' The, immaculate, self-
complacent Sir Willoughby Patterne is indeed ' all of us.' Stevenson
was a great admirer of Meredith, who introduces him into The
Amazing Marriage as Gower Woodseer.

Nathan, the prophet who, by means of the parable of the ewe-
larnb, courageously rebuked David for his sin in taking Bathsheba,
the wife of Uriah (2 Samuel xii).

Thoreau (1817-1862), the American naturalist and recluse, whose
fame rests chiefly on Wolden, or Life in the Woods (1854).

Penn. William Penn, the Quaker (1644-1718), was the founder
of the State of Pennsylvania in America, where he tried, unsuc-
cessfully, to put his principles into practice. In a copy of his Fruits
of Solitude, Stevenson wrote, in forwarding it as a present to a
friend, c if ever in all my human conduct I have done a better turn
to any fellow-creature than handing on to you this sweet and
wholesome work, I know I shall hear of it on the Last Day ''

Mitford. A. F. Mitford, afterwards Lord Redesdale. Tales of
Old Japan was published in 1871.

Ill
ON FALLING IN  LOVE

Virginibus Puerisque, ' for youths and maidens,' was a series
of papers, as Stevenson tells us in his dedication, written ' with
a definite end.5 He set out ' to state temperately the beliefs of
youth as opposed to the contentions of age . . . and produce at
last a little volume of special pleadings which I might call without
mis'nomer " Life at twenty-five."' The first four essays, which
give the title to the book, deal to a great extent with Love and
Friendship. * Marriage,' says Stevenson in his bantering way, ' is a
field of battle, not a bed of roses ... to rnarry is to domesticate
the Kecording Angel. Once you are married, there is nothing
left for you, not even suicide, but to be good,' and he character-