“Buckton’s scholarly synthesis pushes us to reconsider the relationship between travel writing and fiction in Stevenson’s body of work and to examine the intersections between issues such as colonialism and same-sex desire across genres.”
“Buckton convincingly argues for continued consideration of Stevenson as a writer who productively engaged with the social concerns of the contemporaneous moment.”
Rocky Mountain Review
“Buckton’s book offers a series of original, and at times, provocative reappraisals of some of Stevenson’s most undervalued writings.”
English Literature in Transition
“Overall this sophisticated approach to Stevenson’s writings offers an admirable heuristic for bringing into conjunction his literal and literary journeys.”
Romanticism & Victorianism on the Net
Cruising with Robert Louis Stevenson: Travel, Narrative, and the Colonial Body is the first booklengthstudy about the influence of travel on RobertLouis Stevenson’s writings, both fiction and nonfiction.Within the contexts of late-Victorian imperialism andethnographic discourse, the book offers original closereadings of individual works by Stevenson while bringingnew theoretical insights to bear on the relationshipbetween travel, authorship, and gender identity in theVictorian fin de siècle.
Oliver S. Buckton develops “cruising” as a criticalterm, linking Stevenson’s leisurely mode of travelwith the striking narrative motifs of disruption andfragmentation that characterize his writings. Bucktontraces the development of Stevenson’s career from hisearly travel books to show how Stevenson’s majorworks of fiction, such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped, andThe Ebb-Tide, draw on innovative techniques and materialsStevenson acquired in the course of his globaltravels.
Exploring Stevenson’s pivotal role in the revivalof “romance” in the late nineteenth century, Cruisingwith Robert Louis Stevenson highlights Stevenson’s treatmentof the human body as part of his resistance torealism, arguing that the energies and desires releasedby travel are often routed through disturbingly resistantor darkly comic corporeal figures. Buckton gives extensiveattention to Stevenson’s writing about the SouthSeas, arguing that his groundbreaking critiques ofEuropean colonialism are formed in awareness of thefragility and desirability of Polynesian bodies and islandlandscapes.
Cruising with Robert Louis Stevenson will be indispensableto all admirers of Stevenson as well as of greatinterest to readers of travel writing, Victorian ethnography,gender studies, and literary criticism.
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. More info →
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