Treasure Island
  • Publication Date: December 20, 2011
  • ISBN: 9781551114095 / 1551114097
  • 290 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Treasure Island

  • Publication Date: December 20, 2011
  • ISBN: 9781551114095 / 1551114097
  • 290 pages; 5½" x 8½"

The adventure story told in Treasure Island has become a part of popular folklore. John Sutherland discusses the novel’s place in Stevenson’s biography and oeuvre in his learned and lively critical introduction to this new edition. Exploring the novel’s genesis in Stevenson’s “plundering” of other writers, his writer’s block, and the surprisingly disturbing and complex nature of what was meant to be a children’s story, Sutherland argues for the enduring vitality and appeal of Stevenson’s first novel.

Appendices include Stevenson’s writing about the novel, contemporary reviews, and sources on which Stevenson drew (or from which he borrowed) when writing Treasure Island.

For an excerpt from the appendices of Treasure Island, please see our blog post: Where is This Island?.


“Easily accessible, bottom-of-the-page notes provide outstanding illumination of the text’s literary and historical contexts, particularly biblical and nautical references that might otherwise elude modern readers. No other edition provides a better insight into the (sometimes murky) compositional processes behind this classic work of fiction. For fans of Sutherland’s unique detective-style readings, the appendix of ‘puzzles and conundrums’ will prove an added bonus.” — Roslyn Jolly, University of New South Wales

“Broadview’s new edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic Treasure Island is an excellent teaching text because of its detailed textual annotations, which help guide readers through the book’s nineteenth-century context. As a historian, I appreciate how these annotations, along with the five appendices, place Stevenson’s fantasy in context with popular seventeenth- and eighteenth-century textual influences on pirate mythology. John Sutherland finishes the edition with a series of ‘puzzles and conundrums’ raised by the story; these are bound to stimulate discussion in a seminar setting.” — Mark Hanna, University of California, San Diego

Robert Louis Stevenson: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

Treasure Island

Appendix A: Reviews of Treasure Island

  1. From The Academy (1 December 1883)
  2. From [Arthur John Butler,] The Athenaeum (1 December 1883)
  3. From W.E. Henley, The Saturday Review (8 December 1883)
  4. From [Andrew Lang,] Pall Mall Gazette (15 December 1883)
  5. From Henry James, Century Magazine (April 1888)
  6. From Fanny Stevenson (7 March 1882)

Appendix B: Robert Louis Stevenson, “My First Book” (1894)

Appendix C: Treasure Island and Washington Irving’s Tales of a

Appendix D: Treasure Island and Charles E. Pearce’s Billy Bo’swain (1873)

Appendix E: Puzzles and Conundrums

  1. How Old Is Jim?
  2. Long John Silver’s (Invisible) Black Wife
  3. Why Does Stevenson Not Hang Long John Silver?
  4. “Fifteen men”? A “dead man’s chest”?
  5. Who Owned the Parrot before Long John Silver?
  6. When and Where Is Jim Writing?
  7. Long John Silver’s Impossible CV

Select Bibliography

John Sutherland is Lord Northcliffe Professor Emeritus of Modern English Literature at University College London.