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New Arabian Nights, More New Arabian Nights: The Dynamiter & The Wrecker

Robert Louis Stevenson

New Arabian Nights by Robert Louis Stevenson, first published in 1882, is a collection of short stories previously published in magazines between 1877 and 1880.


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Book Information

Publisher: Prince Classics.
Publish Date: 12/31/2019
Pages: 874
ISBN-13: 9789353855888
ISBN-10: 9353855888
Language: English

Full Description

New Arabian Nights by Robert Louis Stevenson, first published in 1882, is a collection of short stories previously published in magazines between 1877 and 1880. The collection contains Stevenson's first published fiction, and a few of the stories are considered by some critics to be his best work, as well as pioneering works in the English short story tradition.

New Arabian Nights is divided into two volumes.

Volume 1

The first volume contains seven stories originally called Later-day Arabian Nights and published by London Magazine in serial format from June to October 1878. It is composed of two story groups, or cycles:

"The Suicide Club"
"The Rajah's Diamond"
Volume 2

The second volume is a collection of four unconnected (standalone) stories that were previously published in magazines:

"The Pavilion on the Links" (1880), told in 9 mini-chapters
"A Lodging for the Night" (1877)
"The Sire De Mal troits Door" (1877)
"Providence and the Guitar" (1878)

More New Arabian Nights: The Dynamiter (1885) is a collection of linked short stories by Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny van der Grift Stevenson.

"Prologue of the Cigar Divan"
"Challoner's adventure: The Squire of Dames"
"Story of the Destroying Angel"
"The Squire of Dames (Concluded)"
"Somerset's adventure: The Superfluous Mansion"
"Narrative of the Spirited Old Lady"
"The Superfluous Mansion (Continued)"
"Zero's Tale of the Explosive Bomb"
"The Superfluous Mansion (Continued)"
"Desborough's Adventure: The Brown Box"
"Story of the Fair Cuban"
"The Brown Box (Concluded)"
"The Superfluous Mansion (Concluded)"
"Epilogue of the Cigar Divan"

The Wrecker (1892) is a novel written by Robert Louis Stevenson in collaboration with his stepson Lloyd Osbourne.

The story is a "sprawling, episodic adventure story, a comedy of brash manners and something of a detective mystery", according to Roderick Watson. It revolves around the abandoned wreck of the Flying Scud at Midway Atoll. Clues in a stamp collection are used to track down the missing crew and solve the mystery. It is only in the last chapter that different story elements become linked. Stevenson described it as a "South Sea yarn" concerning "a very strange and defective plan that was accepted with open eyes for what seemed countervailing opportunities offered". The book sold well but reviews were mixed, with a New York Times reviewer concluding that:

The Wrecker is a kind of blank-cartridge romance with a big explosion, which raises a dust, and if anything really has happened it escapes you in the flash and the cloud of smoke.

The loosely connected stories reflect how Stevenson and Osbourne wrote the book. Each contributed different sections, but agreed to develop characters and descriptions of places they both knew well. The following are examples:

The schooner Equator (1888-1953) inspired the story. Its remains are preserved in a shed at Marina Park at the Port of Everett, Washington.
Jack Buckland was a handsome, happy-go-lucky fellow passenger with Osbourne and Stevenson on the 1890 Janet Nicholl voyage. He inspired the character of "Remittance Man" Tommy Hadden.

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