By Robert Louis Stevenson, Angus Fletcher
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In France he meets Fanny Osbourne, a married American 1878 woman ten years his senior; the two fall in love. An Inland Voyage is published. Fanny returns to the United States, leaving Stevenson depressed and melancholy . He sets out on a journey through the mountains of France舗s Massif Central and documents it in a narrative that becomes the book Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes, published the following year. 1879 In August Stevenson sets out for California to see Fanny. A severe chest infection leaves him on the verge of death.
As in his youth, sickness galvanized rather than diminished his imagination; during this period he composed such classics as Treasure Island (1883), A Child舗s Garden of Verses (1885), and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Kidnapped (both 1886). From 1884 to 1887 the family lived in Bournemouth, a resort on England舗s south coast. After his father舗s death in 1887, Stevenson and his mother, wife, and stepson moved to America. The author舗s vagabond spirit and quest for better health led the family on a South Seas voyage that would prove to be his greatest adventure; in 1888 they visited the islands of the Marquesas, Tahiti, and Hawaii.
Edgar Allan Poe舗s unfinished story, probably his last tale, 舠The Light-house,舡 tells the dark side of the lighthouse舒namely, isolation from all mankind. The connection to Poe could not be more intriguing, for lighthouses are among man舗s most direct interventions against the forces of nature, and when they emit intermittent light, they resemble stories symbolically building on their own luminous variety, their 舠various light,舡 as the great poet John Milton once phrased it. The young man舗s family, it happens, were famous and financially secure in their chosen field of casting light over the waters.