Island is an adventure novel by Scottish
author Robert Louis Stevenson, narrating
a tale of "buccaneers and buried
gold". First published as a book
in 1883, it was originally serialised
in the children's magazine Young Folks
between 1881-82 under the title The Sea
Cook, or Treasure Island. Traditionally
considered a coming of age story, it is
an adventure tale of superb atmosphere,
character and action, and also a wry commentary
on the ambiguity of morality—as
seen in Long John Silver—unusual
for children's literature then and now.
It is one of the most frequently dramatised
of all novels, and its influence on popular
lore about pirates can not be overestimated.
Stevenson was 30 years old when he started
to write Treasure Island, and it would
be his first success as a novelist. The
first fifteen chapters were written at
Braemar in the Scottish Highlands in 1881.
was a cold and rainy August-September
and Stevenson was with five family members
on holiday in a cottage. Young Lloyd Osbourne,
Stevenson's step-son, would pass the rainy
days painting with water colors. Remembering
the time, Lloyd wrote: ..busy with a box
of paints I happened to be tinting a map
of an island I had drawn. Stevenson came
in as I was finishing it, and with his
affectionate interest in everything I
was doing, leaned over my shoulder, and
was soon elaborating the map and naming
it. I shall never forget the thrill of
Skeleton Island, Spyglass Hill, nor the
heart-stirring climax of the three red
crosses! And the greater climax still
when he wrote down the words "Treasure
Island" at the top right-hand corner!
And he seemed to know so much about it
too—the pirates, the buried treasure,
the man who had been marooned on the island".
"Oh, for a story about it",
I exclaimed, in a heaven of enchantment,
and somehow conscious of his own enthusiasm
in the idea.