Good pages, an imperfect fusion, a certain languor of the whole. Not, in short, art

[As usual, dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 4, 1193.]

To Will H. Low [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 190-191]

La Solitude, Hyères, Var, 13th December 1883

My dear Low,


I was much pleased with what you said about my work.


Will Hicok Low (1853-1933), US artist and writer on art []

Ill-health is a great handicapper in the race. I have never at command that press of spirits that are necessary to strike out a thing red-hot. Silverado is an example of stuff worried and pawed about, God knows how often, in poor health, and you can see for yourself the result: good pages, an imperfect fusion, a certain languor of the whole. Not, in short, art. I have told Roberts to send you a copy of the book when it appears, where there are some fair passages that will be new to you.


Roberts Brothers, bookbinders and publishers in 19th-century Boston []


The first illustrated edition of Treasure Island, according to Swearingen, was actually published in Boston in mid-February, 1884, for Roberts Brothers, with four illustrations by F.T. Merrill []






My brief romance, Prince Otto – far my most difficult adventure up to now – is near an end. I have still one chapter to write de fond en comble, and three or four to strengthen or recast. The rest is done. I do not know if I have made a spoon, or only spoiled a horn; but I am tempted to hope the first. If the present bargain hold, it will not see the light of day for some thirteen months. Then I shall be glad to know how it strikes you. There is a good deal of stuff in it, both dramatic and, I think, poetic; and the story is not like these purposeless fables of today, but is, at least, intended to stand firm upon a base of philosophy – or morals – as you please. It has been long gestated, and is wrought with care. Enfin, nous verrons.

My labours have this year for the first time been rewarded with upwards of £350; that of itself, so base we are! encourages me; and the better tenor of my health yet more.

Remember me to Mrs. Low, and believe me, yours most sincerely,

Robert Louis Stevenson


This entry was posted in Letters, Robert Louis Stevenson and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.