Robert Louis Stevenson
(1850 - 1894)
Robert Louis Stevenson did not learn to read until he was eight years old and dictated his earliest stories to his mother and his nurse. Once recalling that his childhood was “full of fever, nightmare, insomnia, painful days, and interminable nights,” he did not fare much better as an adult, suffering from a chronic lung disease that led him to seek out healthful environments: he spent two winters in Davos, Switzerland, where he completed Treasure Island in 1881, and sailed to Polynesia in 1888. Plagued by lung disease, sciatica, near blindness, and debilitating writer’s cramp in his later years, he lived out his days on the island of Upolu, in Samoa, dictating his final works to his stepdaughter.