‘I was not only travelling out of my country in latitude and longitude, but out of myself in diet, associates, and consideration’
In 1878, Robert Louis Stevenson escaped from his numerous troubles – poor health, tormented love, inadequate funds – by embarking on a journey through the Cévennes in France, accompanied by Modestine, a rather single-minded donkey. The notebook Stevenson kept during this time became Travels with a Donkey, a highly entertaining account of the French people and their country. The Amateur Emigrant is a vivid journal of his travels to and in America – describing the crowded weeks in steerage with the poor and sick, as well as stowaways – and the train journey he took across the country. Filled with sharp-eyed observations, this work brilliantly conveys Stevenson’s perceptions of America and the Americans. Together, these two pieces are fascinating examples of nineteenth-century travel writing, revealing as much about the traveller as the places he travels to.
Christopher MacLachlan’s introduction places the works in their biographical and literary context. This edition also includes pieces from Stevenson’s original notebooks, a chronology, further reading, notes and maps of the journeys.