Please Note: When I began this series, it was to cover a lot of authors whom I have found personally influential, even though this may only be because I enjoyed the stories they have told in their books or short stories. I’m just fortunate enough and well read enough that many of the authors I have personally enjoyed have also been influential on a macro scale as well as micro. rrt
All of the above being said, yeah I’d say that Robert Louis Stevenson fits the classic definition of an Influential Author. From his wiki introduction:
Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson (13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer. His most famous works are Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
A literary celebrity during his lifetime, Stevenson now ranks among the 26 most translated authors in the world. His works have been admired by many other writers, including Jorge Luis Borges, Bertolt Brecht, Marcel Proust, Arthur Conan Doyle, Henry James, Cesare Pavese, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, Jack London, Vladimir Nabokov, J. M. Barrie, and G. K. Chesterton, who said of him that he “seemed to pick the right word up on the point of his pen, like a man playing spillikins.”
Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Definitely influential books and characters. Treasure Island alone provided the inspiration for many of the popular images we associate with pirates:
The influence of Treasure Island on popular perceptions of pirates has been enormous, introducing such elements as treasure maps marked with an “X”, schooners, the Black Spot, tropical islands, and one-legged seamen bearing parrots on their shoulders.
If you say that someone has a “Jekyll and Hyde personality,” most everyone will know exactly what you mean thanks to the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde< /i>:
The work is commonly associated with the rare mental condition often spuriously called “split personality”, referred to in psychiatry as dissociative identity disorder , where within the same body there exists more than one distinct personality. In this case, there are two personalities within Dr Jekyll, one apparently good and the other evil. The novella’s impact is such that it has become a part of the language, with the very phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” coming to mean a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next.
While not as influential as the first two, Kidnapped does offer some interesting historical perspective.
I know I read Treasure Island as a boy and …Dr. Jekyll… while in high school. Other Stevenson works I have read includes The Master of Ballantrae and
I am currently reading The Black Arrow thanks to Project Gutenberg.
Stevenson wrote many short stories and non-fiction as well as his novels. Looking through the list of his books from Goodreads.com there is a wide variety available. For instance, South Sea Tales is described as:
…at the height of his career, Robert Louis Stevenson announced his intention to settle permanently in Samoa. His readers were equally shocked when he began to use the subject material offered by his new environment, not to promote a romance of empire, but to produce some of the most ironic and critical treatments of imperialism in nineteenth-century fiction.
In stories such as ‘The Beach of Falesá’, ‘The Bottle Imp’, and ‘The Isle of Voices’ Stevenson shows himself to be virtuoso of narrative styles. This is the first collection to bring together all his shorter Pacific fiction in one volume and in it Stevenson emerges as a witness to the cross-cultural encounters of nineteenth-century imperialism and to the creation of the global culture which characterizes the post-colonial world.(
IMDB shows Stevenson with 249 writing credits. Treasure Island, Kidnapped, The Black Arrow, The Master of Ballantrae and …Dr Jekyll… have all received multiple movie and TV interpretations, sometimes serious and sometimes for fun (think Muppet Treasure Island or Mr Magoo’s Treasure Island or Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde).
As the wiki intro noted, Stevenson was popular during his lifetime. As his Goodreads intro notes, modern critics have also begun recognizing his influence on Western Literature