Robert Louis Stevenson was born and lived in Edinburgh for many years. The University of Edinburgh has a fittingly robust archive of his letters, first editions of his novels, biographies by his contemporaries, and press clippings of reviews of his novels and biographies. Later materials in the archive show how devoted a postmortem following the author had — we found letterhead bearing the name of both the “Robert Louis Stevenson Club” and the “Stevenson Society of America, Inc.”
While our search through the archives yielded no clues to the authorship of The Dynamiter, it did reaffirm a finding from our other avenues of research: While a great deal of public interest surrounded and continues to surround Robert Louis Stevenson, a written record of interest in Fanny Stevenson is virtually non-existent. When she is referred to, it is almost always in relation to her famous husband, rather than her own writing.
Archives can tell scholars as much about social and literary norms through their construction as through the actual content. Below, a few interesting papers we found in the University’s archives.
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