HIS FINEST STORY CHALLENGING 19TH CENTURY TABOOS (1893)

STEVENSON, Robert Louis

Island Nights' Entertainments Consisting of The Beach of Falesá The Bottle Imp The Isle of Voices ... illustrations by Gordon Browne and W. Hatherell

Published: London: Cassell & Company Limited

Date: 1893

first edition, first issue tall 8vo. x, [2], 277, [3 (blank)], [16 (advts. dated "7G - 3.93.")]pp., cold frontispiece map, numerous illustrations throughout the text, pale turquoise cloth gilt lettered on front cover and spine, pictorially gilt blocked on front cover, decorative paper endpapers,

Note
The first issue of the first British edition is indicated by the price being altered in ink in the printed list of Stevenson's works on the verso of the first leaf (facing the half-title). Some copies of the first British issue have the advertisements at the rear dated "7 G- 9.92" but most copies have advertisements dated as in this copy "7G - 3.93.". The book had first appeared in the U.S. 5 days earlier. These stories are set on the island of Samoa where Stevenson spent his last years. Included is The Beach of Falesa which considered to be his finest story and which was originally censored by its British publisher. "The Beach of Falesá is a scathing critique of colonialism and economic imperialism that bravely takes on many of the 19th century’s strongest taboos: miscegenation, imperialism, and economic exploitation. It does so with a story that features a surprising and beguiling romance between an adventurous British trader and a young island girl, against a background of increasing—and mysterious—hostility. Are the native islanders plotting against the couple, or is it the other white traders? The result is a denouement that is astonishing in its violence. Told in the unadorned voice of the trader, it is a story that deftly combines the form of the exotic adventure yarn with the moral and psychological questing of great fiction" [blurb to a modern Melville House reprint].

Condition
very unobtrusive old college library blind stamp on first leaf (with printed list of Stevenson's works on verso), else a very nice bright copy.

£650

Offered by P & B Rowan