Friday, January 2, 2009

treasure island

as a boy and now as a much older boy, my head and heart have often been filled with the most wishful adventurous feelings. to travel, to live, to be entirely alone. to live on an island more-or-less alone has long appealed to the romantic (and impractical) side of me for as long as i can remember. an inordinate number of books line the shelves of my home and classroom dealing with life alone under challenging circumstances.

the irony of this for me is that the reality of my existence is such that my life is predicated on a highly social existence. my income being determined by my spending time in a room with twenty five students, and my family being the most important feature of my life as a whole. my wishes to experience life alone are not so much a response to this as they are an expression of the desire to know what i actually am, to experience my self without the external definitions that cloud my own perceptions of who and what i am.

one of the first stories i can recall reading that called out to this inner desire to create a solitary existence was treasure island. the birth of this story is (in my view) as fascinating and thrilling as the story itself. here in the words of the author robert louis stevenson's stepson is the actual birth of treasure island!!!! "young lloyd osbourne, stevenson's stepson, passed the rainy days painting with watercolours. remembering the time, lloyd wrote:
“ ... busy with a box of paints i happened to be tinting a map of an island i had drawn. stevenson came in as i was finishing it, and with his affectionate interest in everything i was doing, leaned over my shoulder, and was soon elaborating the map and naming it. i shall never forget the thrill of skeleton island, spyglass hill, nor the heart-stirring climax of the three red crosses! and the greater climax still when he wrote down the words "treasure island" at the top right-hand corner! and he seemed to know so much about it too —— the pirates, the buried treasure, the man who had been marooned on the island ... . "oh, for a story about it", i exclaimed, in a heaven of enchantment ...”
within three days of drawing the map for lloyd, stevenson had written the first three chapters, reading each aloud to his family who added suggestions."


hardy souls who enjoy reading books and who are inclined to read online can read treasure island in its entirety for free right here. those of you who prefer to sit back with a bowl of popcorn and a beverage, should give your mouse a click and spark up part one of treasure island


Goldenrod said...

Yo ho ho, Steven! I watched all 15 parts, I did. Aye, I did. Twer fun. Aye, fun!! And now I'm off, me lad.

(Might have been the only movie with Charlton Heston in it that I had never seen.)

steven said...

you skipped ahead?!!!! arrrrrrgggggggg that makes a lot of sense matey!!!!!!
i thought heston played the part well!!!

Madded Mandora said...

you write so well. ever consider a novel? i too have dreams of being stranded on an island, alone. sometimes i use this fantasy to get to sleep when i have insomnia. i have all kinds of details and plans of how i would try to survive....problem is it keeps me awake because i get so involved in my thoughts. hah! i stopped by here about a year ago and stumbled in again today. really enjoy your blog.

steven said...

hey madded mandora i remember you! thanks for dropping by and commenting. have i ever considered a novel? well, yes but there are so many amazing writers out there whose work clutters my living room, family room, and bedroom that i figure i'd have a heck of a time rising above the wealth of their ability! you might like to drop by my new blog entitled "flow" which is linked off the golden fish in the sidebar!!
see you again.

Sid Smith said...

Treasure Island was one of my favourite books as a child. The first time I came across it was as a serial in a weekly kids magazine called Look & Learn. My Gran also bought me a copy of the story - a little abridged version I think it was, with some very simple line illustrations in it.

Then of course there was Robert Newton as LJS in the movie and seeing that sent me back to the book.

Only last week I saw a deluxe hardback version of the story and I nearly bought it.

I've never seen this version you've linked to before but will investigate!

steven said...

as you know, there are several versions of treasure island out there sid - i liked this one because it has a (for want of a better term) 'real presence' about it. it's clearly modern and i grew up on films that were entirely on the grey scale so colour and cleverness and beautiful cinematography are a bit distracting.

the story itself is what hooks me. i'm going to look up those references you mentioned. my grandma and grandad had a set of books that were to me at the time massive, and in those books was all sorts of "stuff". i recll a fragment of treasure island and remember being utterly snagged and amazed. i've read several different versions and i haven't got a favourite. i love them all.