Cruising with Robert Louis Stevenson: Travel, Narrative, and the Colonial Body

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Ohio University Press, 2007 - Literary Criticism - 344 pages
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Cruising with Robert Louis Stevenson: Travel, Narrative, and the Colonial Body is the first book-length study about the influence of travel on Robert Louis Stevenson’s writings, both fiction and nonfiction. Within the contexts of late-Victorian imperialism and ethnographic discourse, the book offers original close readings of individual works by Stevenson while bringing new theoretical insights to bear on the relationship between travel, authorship, and gender identity.

Oliver S. Buckton develops “cruising” as a critical term, linking Stevenson’s leisurely mode of travel with the striking narrative motifs of disruption and fragmentation that characterize his writings. Buckton follows Stevenson’s career from his early travel books to show how Stevenson’s major works of fiction, such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Ebb-Tide, derive from the innovative techniques and materials Stevenson acquired on his global travels.

Exploring Stevenson’s pivotal role in the revival of “romance” in the late nineteenth century, Cruising with Robert Louis Stevenson highlights Stevenson’s treatment of the human body as part of his resistance to realism, arguing that the energies and desires released by travel are often routed through resistant or comic corporeal figures. Buckton also focuses on Stevenson’s writing about the South Seas, arguing that his groundbreaking critiques of European colonialism are formed in awareness of the fragility and desirability of Polynesian bodies and landscapes.

Cruising with Robert Louis Stevenson will be indispensable to all admirers of Stevenson as well as of great interest to readers of travel writing, Victorian ethnography, gender studies, and literary criticism.
 

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Contents

Chapter One Reanimating Stevensons Corpus
35
Chapter Two The Beast in the Mountains
67
Chapter Three Faithful to his map
97
Chapter Four Mr BetwixtandBetween
126
Chapter Five A quarry of materials
151
Chapter Six Buridans donkey
181
Chapter Seven The White Mans Quarrel
215
Chapter Eight Theres an end to it
245
Notes
271
Bibliography
329
Index
339
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About the author (2007)

Oliver S. Buckton is an associate professor of English at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, where he teaches Victorian literature, critical theory, and film. He is the author of Secret Selves: Confession and Same-Sex Desire in Victorian Autobiography and has published essays on Dickens, Stevenson, Wilde, and Schreiner.

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