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Memories And Portraits
by Robert Louis Stevenson
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Originally published in 1887, this is an excellent collection of short stories; memories of youth and childhood portraits of those who the writer had much loved but lost. Unintentionally autobiographical, it gives us an amazing insight into Stevenson's personality and the development of his character. It contains sketches and essays on various subjects, including the writing of fiction, Henry James and Walter Besant, and the character of dogs.
THIS volume of papers, unconnected as they are, it will be better to read through from the beginning, rather than dip into at random. A certain thread of meaning binds them. Memories of childhood and youth, portraits of those who have gone before us in the battle - taken together, they build up a face that "I have loved long since and lost awhile," the face of what was once myself. This has come by accident; I had no design at first to be autobiographical; I was but led away by the charm of beloved memories and by regret for the irrevocable dead; and when my own young face (which is a face of the dead also) began to appear in the well as by a kind of magic, I was the first to be surprised at the occurrence. My grandfather the pious child, my father the idle eager sentimental youth, I have thus unconsciously exposed. Of their descendant, the person of to-day, I wish to keep the secret: not because I love him better, but because, with him, I am still in a business partner-ship, and cannot divide interests.
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