Writers Who Made Me: Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson (pictured) was born in Edinburgh in 1850. He is probably best remembered for his novels "Treasure Island", "Kidnapped", and "Strange Case of Dr Jekyll all of which have been made into films and television series.

For me it is the collection of poetry he published in 1885. I well remember my father reading to my sister and I from a large hard back copy of "A Child's Garden of Verses". Thirty years later my eldest son won a copy at his school prize day and he and I would read it together. I can still recite some of the verse and keep a copy on my bookshelf.

The gentle observations about childhood are timeless in many ways. For example, what small child hasn't, at some point, questioned why he has to go to bed before it's dark?

Bed in Summer by Robert Louis Stevenson

In winter I get up at night And dress by yellow candle-light. In summer quite the other way, I have to go to bed by day. I have to go to bed and see The birds still hopping on the tree, Or hear the grown-up people's feet Still going past me in the street. And does it not seem hard to you, When all the sky is clear and blue, And I should like so much to play, To have to go to bed by day?

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