Treasure Island

ISBN: 0786180412
ISBN 13: 9780786180417
By: Robert Louis Stevenson Frederick Davidson

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Genres

Adventure Childrens Classic Classics Currently Reading Favorites Fiction Historical Fiction To Read Young Adult

About this book

This Top Five Classics illustrated edition of Treasure Island includes the original, unabridged text by Robert Louis Stevenson; more than 60 illustrations—all 16 color paintings by N.C. Wyeth for the 1911 edition, 44 drawings by Louis Rhead from his 1915 edition, and, of course, a treasure map—Stevenson's essay, “My First Book: Treasure Island,” on the writing of his classic; a glossary of nautical and historical terms; and a helpful introduction, author bio, and bibliography.Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island was not the first adventure story of pirates in the Caribbean, but it may as well have been. Since its publication in 1883, it’s become the standard—the first and last word on the subject—and it remains an exhilarating, satisfying read for young and old alike to this day.A strange, crusty old pirate comes to stay with Jim Hawkins’ family at the Admiral Benbow Inn. The map he carries with him will put them all in danger and be the impetus for young Jim's perilous journey with Long John Silver in search of treasure on the high seas.

Reader's Thoughts

Kirstine

This is a neat little tale of adventure, piracy, hidden treasure, mutiny and heroics. All in all, good stuff. I wish I had read it as a kid, I’m pretty sure I would have loved it – the same way I loved The Mysterious Island, because it’s all about adventure. Nothing beats that when you grow up in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere, with few friends and mostly your brother for company. Some tales are also simply better when you’re a child, because you’re less critical, making you more susceptible to the apparent grandeur of piracy and less attentive when it comes to small things (such as the fact that it’s too short to have many ‘small things’).It’s a perfectly enjoyable story, and I’m definitely reading it to my kids when that day comes, but reading it on my own I was a little underwhelmed. I suspect I expected a little more sense of adventure, because when it all came down to it, it all felt very orderly, like it was a gentlemen’s adventure, and god forbid they use dirty tricks, we’ll leave that to the filthy, mutinous pirates. It wasn’t very… swashbuckling. I do believe, however, that my real problem is with the length. It’s like The Hobbit, it could have used another 100 pages to draw everything out a little bit. It all went a little too fast, and when the climax came it was too little too soon. I also committed the folly of seeing the Disney film “Treasure Planet” (based off this novel) before reading it, and that’s got plenty of (steampunk) swashbuckling, so perhaps I merely placed my expectations too high or in the wrong place. Either way, this is still a classic in the genre and does have memorable characters – especially Silver, with his moral ambiguity and shifting loyalties – and an imaginative setting and plot. I imagine reenacting it in my garden might add the thrill I felt it lacked. Worth a try.

Greg

Loved it. The language of the characters is an important part of the book's magic in this gripping adventure story. In the Appendix, Stevenson himself explains how he developed the story. First he drew the map of the island, and having that he could visualise all the characters, locations, and weapons, "fighting and hunting treasure, on these few square inches of a flat projection." It is interesting that the narrator changes for a few chapters in the middle.After the fact I would have preferred not to have read the Introduction by graduate professor of American literature John Seelye before reading Treasure Island. Academics defining an Author's influences before I've read a book sort of deflates the magic for me. I would have preferred it at the back of the book. Stories where the main subject or character is 'an old man who has spent his whole life with the sea' seems to have a great attraction and a timeless appeal. Three examples are Long John Silver, Doc from Cannery Row, and Santiago, in The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway.I certainly intend reading Treasure Island again.

Eric

I really don't know what I can say about this classic swash-buckling adventure that hasn't been said already, but a few things that jumped out at me (minor spoilers below):- I found it interesting that the narrator details how Captain Smollett, Gray, and Ben Gunn spend their shares of the treasure, but not the original three treasure hunters -- himself, Doctor Livesey and Squire Trelawney. Actually, the ending in general seems a bit rushed to me, but this is a minor quibble, as I'm a big fan of brevity in literature.- I enjoyed the open-endedness of the ending paragraph: "The bar silver and the arms still lie, for all that I know, where Flint buried them; and certainly they shall lie there for me."- I couldn't believe this was the same author that wrote Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, as the tone of this book is entirely different. But when more of Long John Silver's inner character surfaced, I saw the duality-of-man theme at the center of Jekyll and Hyde present here as well.- Speaking of Long John Silver, it is remarkable to think that this book's popular is so pervasive that it inspired a fast-food restaurant chain -- 86 years after it was first published.

Michele

I'd never actually read this book before. I think I'd only seen movie versions of the story - which meant that I heard Tim Curry's voice every time Long John Silver opened his mouth to speak.Despite this distraction (and yes, I loved the Muppet version of the story), I was able to get into the story for its own sake. I found the first person narration by Jim the best part of the book because of the perspective it gave the whole adventure - after all, Jim's in it for the glory, as a boy would be, and not the money that his adult companions obviously hope to make. Jim's view is vindicated in the end as well when all the bad or questionable guys in the book end up blowing their wad, while he and the good guys are 'richer' for the experience.I enjoyed Jim's narration so much that I was disappointed when the episode in the stockade shifted from his perspective instead of just being told retrospectively. Seeing the action from Jim's point of view also allowed the reader to anticipate Jim's own responses. For example, as an adult reader, the sailors (pirates) "inability" to capture Black Dog after chasing him out of Long John's pub confirms the reader's suspicions about Long John (they'd been aroused earlier, but without substantiation) but Jim, being a child, takes a little longer to realize it. This creates a kind of narrative tension that's thoroughly enjoyable and is obviously what Stevenson wanted to do in choosing to narrate from the boy's perspective.Fun book - almost as much fun as the muppets!

Liz

I liked the Treasure Island, but if I had read it when I was younger I would have LOVED it. Whilst I was reading this book, all I could think of was One Eyed Willy and his 'rich stuff' and of course, THE TRUFFLE SHUFFLE!!I didn't realise the movie Goonies was so heavily influenced by Treasure Island....I loved that movie. The adventure, the danger, the pirates, the rich stuff, Chunk.....it was brilliant.Reading this book made me want to; pull out Goonies and watch it again, travel on a boat to an island somewhere and hike up my shirt and do some belly jiggling.If you have kids read Treasure Island to them now......because it's still good as an adult, but after reading it you can't really run around with a plastic sword in one hand and a bottle of rum in the other screamin' "shiver me timbers where's me buried treasure" into everyone's face....unless of course you want to be cornered by NSW police and tasered to death.

Heather

Maybe it's because I grew up, along with how many tens of millions of others, with the mythology of pirates in my head, or maybe it's the adrenaline-pumping action of a good adventure story, but I absolutely loved this book. In fact, I had to force myself to set it aside for a few hours at a time, to draw it out as long as I could stand, to savor every aspect of the classic story. I was not, nor am I now, well-versed in pirate lore, or knew at all the tale of Treasure Island and Long John Silver. But I did see the Disney spin on the tale, Treasure Planet, and upon seeing that movie (which I really enjoyed), I knew I had to read the book counterpart. As I said, I loved it. From he foreshadowing and development, to the choice of words and phrase and buildup that left me breathless in all the right places (Hawkins and Hands fighting on the nearly-sinking Hispaniola, the six remaining mutineers finding the treasure has been taken long before they set foot on the island), to Silver himself, a man you can't help put love in spite of good conscience. It all coalesced so perfectly as to make a book that I am happy to add to my "favorites" collection. So, so, so worth the read!

Suvi

The smaller Suvi, who used to climb on the rocks of the nearby forest and build castles with pillows and sheets into our living room, would have probably appreciated this a tad more than 23-year-old Suvi. Absolutely an entertaining story, after all I did kind of forget myself with this instead of studying. However, I didn't have any particular negative or positive feelings one way or the other. One thing though that would have connected these two versions of me, is the complex and multifaceted character of Long John Silver, whose moral isn't quite as black and white as with the patriotic characters of the novel and the pirates. As far as I know, this moral issue is quite rare in children's literature, at least of this time period.I don't know whether Treasure Island was the first pirate story, but there's a lot of (perhaps stereotypical) conceptions and ideas in here relating to pirates that have survived to this day. The most important of these are at least one legged pirates with a parrot on their shoulder, treasure maps with an X, and buried treasures. The ship Hispaniola sounded familiar, but I have no idea why. There are no wooden legs though, because Silver uses a crutch. Believe it or not, but it doesn't seem he has much difficulties using that on a swaying deck or on a soft sand beach. History buffs might want to know that Israel Hands really existed, and that he was Blackbeard's boatswain.All in all, an entertaining adventure story and deserving of its status as a classic, although maybe not suitable for the smallest children. In addition to the flickering morality of Silver, I noticed that Stevenson doesn't try to glorify piracy in any way. Still, if I had read this sometime before the age of 12, I'd probably started dreaming of similar pirate adventures that Jim Hawkins got himself into. I already thought about what it would be like to run away with the circus (while considering the good and bad aspects of being a lion tamer), or hide myself into gypsies' wagons.

Keely

There are a lot of Sea Stories out there, and this is one of the better-known, but it hardly outshines its genre. I found myself missing the humor and vivid characterization of Conrad, not to mention the insightful philosophical asides. I also found it somewhat lacking as an adventure story, as the plot was somewhat simplistic and contrived, following the empty avatar of a narrator through various vicarious thrills. There's nothing wrong with an escapist yarn, but a good one keeps you riveted with twists and turns, alternating verisimilitude and the unlikely. It's not as if it's a problem of period, either, since The Three Musketeers is one of the most rollicking and engrossing adventure stories ever written.One must take into consideration the fact that Treasure Island is one of those genre-defining works which has been rehashed and plundered by a thousand authors since, until it is ingrained in our culture as The representation of piratical life. Like Neuromancer, many of the tropes and plot points might seem unoriginal, but that's only because they have been copied so frequently that we are no longer capable of recognizing their origin.Yet, this isn't the case for all genre-defining works. The Virginian still stands out when compared with any other Western and The Moonstone remains unique despite all the Mysteries that have dutifully followed it. The difference is the author's verve and style, because even if later authors can copy his ideas, copying his style will prove beyond their skill. An author who is good enough to recreate another author's style already has a unique voice of their own.It's curious to compare this with Poe's sole outing in the novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, which has the voice and unpredictability Treasure Island lacks, but doesn't provide the same lilting tone or straightforward plot, leaving each as interesting artifacts in the genre, even if neither can claim to be a complete vision.But then, it is often incomplete visions that provide the greatest inspiration, since they illuminate flaws and pitfalls, providing an outline for later authors and a caution of what should be avoided. Few people have come away from a book they couldn't possibly outdo feeling inspired to create, whereas reading a flawed but entertaining book can be the perfect jolt to a prospective author. But then, a book that inspires other authors to write could hardly help being the influential anchor from which the rest of a genre depends, so such flaws end up serving a purpose, if inadvertently.What drew me to this book, more than anything, is my desire to understand the unique literary mind of Mervyn Peake, one of the most powerful authors in the English language. Peake often invoked this as a favorite book, and produced a powerful series of illustrations for it. In these illustratios, one begins to see what Peake took away from Stevenson, as an author.While this is, to some degree, a story about simple characters, particularly the narrator, it is also a very dark tale, particularly for a children's classic. The death and deceit of the tale come out in Peake's drawings, as does the grotequerie.This darkness is undeniably there, but truthfully, I barely noted it until I looked at Peake's vision. To some degree, Sea Stories always bear this kind of horror, a world of conflict, the unforgiving sea, headhunting cannibals, and death a cheap thing. Poe and Conrad each outdo Stevenson in unsettlement, but in different ways.Poe's tends to be more purely visual, as is always his obsession in writing. It is the languid, lingering description that Poe gives to the leering face of a gull-bitten corpse that drives home the darkness of this life.Conrad, on the other hand, gives us horror in the eyes of his characters. He doesn't shy away from the pure physicality of the unpleasant world, but where it lingers is in the mind's eye; visions which can never be erased, which will forever taint our everyday actions.But Stevenson gives us neither. His adventure tale holds plenty of fear, but when young Jim murders a pirate, gruesome as it is, it rarely lingers either as vignette or psychological crack. Of course, he had a different notion of the maturity of a ten-year-old than we do today, where childhood lasts into the twenties, but we don't get the psychological progression we expect from a man coming to terms with death.These moments and reflections are not entirely absent, but they tend to get lost in the fleeting, episodic style of the story. But I'm glad for Treasure Island, if only because it inspired Peake to expand upon this tale of a precocious boy drawn inexorably into a dark world of grotesque characters in his unfinished magnum opus, the Gormenghast series.

Anzu The Great Destroyer

Never trust a pirate.I really love pirates… even though I try to ignore the fact that they’re dirty, rapists, murderers, alcoholics, thieves… aaah many bad things but still, I like the concept so here I am reading this book. Since it’s summer I tend to go towards these stories. One of my wishes is to become a pirate for a determinate amount of time. I’d love to sail away for a while with Jack Sparrow… I know, who doesn’t love Jack Sparrow? *daydreams*After reading… and reading… and reading some more I decided that this wasn’t what I expected. I was looking for more adventure and the book was lacking it. I decided to finish it though because it’s a classic and all but I do admit that I made a mistake with this one. Robert Louis Stevenson just takes the fun out of the story. It had potential and it all went to Hell. So thanks Mr. Stevenson, you did a good job on this one. Oh and seriously if you have trouble falling asleep or anything just grab Treasure Island, it’ll cure your insomnia damn easily.Heh I couldn’t help myself and I had to make this advertisement. Hell, here I come!I don’t want to be mean and give it a bad review but the story is mediocre. I know it’s a classic and all and I shouldn’t be expecting comic book action but I can’t help feeling bored with it. Call me names but I can’t give it a good score. It would be a lie. The keyword for this book? Lifeless.Read this review on ZombieHazard.

Joseph

Long John Silver is a classic character. He'll murder in cold blood minutes before giving a warm reception and he'll mean both. He's a cold calculator with his eyes on the prize but he wears his greed and affection on his sleeve. He's the perfect picture of the charming knave and throughout this story of pirates and treasure you're never sure if you should be rooting for or against him.Fortunately, this tale is so much adventurous fun that you won't spend too much time psychoanalyzing pirates. The plot is dynamic and well paced and there's plenty of action and humor along the way. The characters, aside from Silver, are less important than the story, but all show distinct enough traits to help you keep track of who's who on a large crew.This tale does suffer from some cliches and incomprehensible sea-speak. And the final 1/3 is a bit light in terms of drama and satisfying resolution (the climax comes almost exactly in the middle.) But hey, this is the tale that popularized 'yo ho ho,' pieces of eight, peg-legs and talking parrots and X marks the spot. It's well worth a read just for the references.

Madeline

"Squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars of Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17- and go back to the time when my father kept the Admiral Benbow inn and the brown old seaman with the sabre cut first took up his lodging under our roof."Regardless of what you think of Treasure Island as a story (and we'll get there, not to worry), its importance in establishing modern adventure tropes can't be denied. So many of the things we think of when we imagine pirates - peg legs, parrots on shoulders, fifteen men on a dead man's chest, the Black Spot - were invented by Stevenson in this book. Basically every single portrayal of pirates created after this story is based in some way on what Stevenson wrote, so if nothing else I appreciate this book for providing us with everything from Captain Hook to Jack Sparrow. ("Captain Jack Sparrow.")So it's just too bad that I didn't enjoy this book as much as I wanted to. Sure, it's exciting for a while, what with the murderous pirates attacking the inn and Jim Hawkins setting out on a crazy treasure-hunting adventure, but around the time they get to the island the plot grinds practically to a halt. It takes chapters and chapters for them to get anywhere or do anything, and I was immensely appreciative of how movie versions of this story make sure to move the action along quickly once they land on the island. Also, Book Jim is kind of an idiot - he stows away with Silver & Co. when they row to the island (even though Jim knows that Silver is evil) just for the hell of it, and he abandons his friends again once they're on the island and have a stronghold set up, because the best thing to do when you're on a strange island full of pirates who want to kill you is go exploring without telling anyone. Also you'll notice in the passage I quoted above, Jim's father is alive at the beginning of the story. He dies pretty quickly, but I prefer how in the movie versions Jim's dad is long gone, having abandoned his son or died a long time ago. It just makes more narrative sense: in order for him to latch on to Long John Silver so quickly, Jim needs to be saddled with enough daddy issues to embarrass a stripper. So in conclusion, I'm glad I read this book, if only to appreciate its cultural significance, but the movie versions I've seen are infinitely more enjoyable. (In case anyone is curious, I have seen two different film versions of Treasure Island. First is Muppet Treasure Island, which makes Stevenson's original seem plodding and boring and horribly miscast - Captain Smollett is and always will be Kermit, and there has never been a better Long John Silver than Tim Curry. Also, Disney's experimental steampunk take on the story, Treasure Planet is highly underrated, in my opinion.)

Hollowspine

I have seen the movies, Muppet Treasure Island, that animated one where Ben Gunn is played by a nutty robot, but until I came across "Treasure Island!!!" by Sara Levine I never thought about actually reading the book. Then I thought, wouldn't it be fun if I, like the narrator of Levine's novel, read Treasure Island then of course read her book too. So that is what I did.First of all, I found it rather difficult to locate a copy of Treasure Island that was not illustrated and abriged for children. This seemed odd to me, I thought a classic like Treasure Island would be widely available for both adults and children. Like Frankenstein, which has multiple copies, some of the children's illustrated type and even more copies, with notes, forewarded by various people etc. etc. for adults. Not so with Stevenson's work. Although Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, like Frankenstein, seems to follow those expectations, Treasure Island it seems is only for kids.So, I read Treasure Island from the Collected Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, and I enjoyed the typewriter quality of the old printing, the slight smell of damp and the lovely red library binding. Reading Treasure Island was a good experience all around. I enjoyed the 'aged' book I was reading from, I was engrossed in Jim's adventures and loved some of the odd dialogues, epspecially between Ben Gunn and everyone else. Or the odd bits about cheese or salted goat. The conversations between the characters were chock-full of quoteable chunks and various things it was hard not to want to speak aloud.I did find the book engaging, exciting and at times very funny, but I haven't broken out the index cards yet. Or bought a parrot.

Jacob

I'm not big on classics, but this book has started to alter my opinion. Treasure Island is an exciting tale of a young boy named Jim Hawkins on an adventure to find treasure to help support him and his mother. His father is dead, and it's just him and his mother, but then he finds a treasure map, and his life will change forever. They find a ship and crew, and all is going well until they run into pirates.The things I didn't like was that it was a little slow at the beginning like most classics. In classic novels, the author s are descriptive about everything, even when it's redundant. There's not alot of this book that I don't like.There are more good things than bad regarding this book. The storyline is really exciting because once they find the chest and the map, they ball gets rolling and the book gets exciting. It's not a terribly long book, but it's not short either, so it's just the right size.

Manny

I read this book when I was about 8, and for some reason I didn't like it much. I never re-read it, as I did with all my favorite books, and I recall very little about the story.But I remember it better than some people, as I discovered when I posed what I thought was the easiest Quiz question in the world. Apparently, not everyone is sure how many men there are on a dead man's chest...

Paul

In one of Manny's 1,682 reviews - no, I can't remember which one** - he says that it must have been incredibly exciting being an avid reader of modern novels in the 1880s and 1890s. Not only were they churning out great classics at a rate of knots, they were inventing whole genres - Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Picture of Dorian Gray, HG Wells - and Treasure Island is one of those, a novel which invented a whole a-harr talk like a pirate genre. Stevenson's prose is quite magical, he absolutely convinced me with his descriptions of winds and seas and gunnels and jibs and booms and mizzenmasts and fo'c'sles (it's okay, you can print the whole word - forecastle - there - the printer won't charge you any more) and all of that. Plus, some of the ripest dialogue anywhere -"If that ain't to your fancy, some of my hands being rough, and having old scores, on account of hazing, then you can stay here, you can. We'll divide stores with you, man for man; and I'll give my affy-davy as before to speak the first ship I sight, and send 'em here to pick you up... Refuse that, and you've seen the last of me but musket-balls.""There!" he cried. "That's what I think of ye. Before an hour's out, I'll stove in your blockhouse like a rum puncheon. Laugh, by thunder, laugh! Before an hour's out ye'll laugh on the other side. Them that die'll be the lucky ones.Cap'n Flint says : As well as a ripping yarn, it's also a nifty dissection of the concept of being a "gentleman" which you may take sociologically, politically or psychologically, as suits ye best, ye lubbers. Squaaawk! Pieces of eight! A tot of rum would go down a treat! Skwawwwk!**Update : I found a previous note I'd already written so I can confirm that it was Manny's review of A Rebours where he says :It must have been so exciting to be a novelist in the second half of the nineteenth century. You weren't limited to just creating a novel; if you were talented, you could create a whole new kind of novel. http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...1883 : Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson1885 : Germinal : Emile Zola 1886 : The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde : R L Stephenson 1891 : The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde, 18911892 : The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes : Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 1895 : The Time Machine : H G Wells 1897 : Dracula : Bram Stoker 1898 : The Turn of the Screw : Henry James 1898 : The War of the Worlds – H G Wells

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