"Robert Louis Stevenson's extraordinary life had a formal structure like that of a hero in Greek myth. A difficult childhood in the care of a demon-haunted Calvinistic nurse and a battle of wills with his autocratic father were followed by marriage to a difficult woman from California. After valiant struggles with illness (in the form of a lung disease, probably tuberculosis), he returned to Scotland for reconciliation with his father, and on the patriarch's death left his native land forever to die prematurely in the South Seas." "In reasserting Stevenson's claims as a writer of genius and moral seriousness, Mr. McLynn emphasizes the many obstacles that stood in his path: his father, his poor health, the squeamishness of the Victorian reading public, and, most of all, the stresses imposed on him by his wife and stepchildren - stresses that materially contributed to his early death in 1894 at the age of forty-four. Above all, the author's life is a story of courage - not just the bravery to face Pacific hurricanes unblinkingly, but the moral strength required to wrestle with many conflicts simultaneously while daily facing possible death from his weak lungs."--Jacket.