quinta-feira, 28 de março de 2013

Kids Gone Rotten by Matthew Bevis

Kids Gone Rotten
Matthew Bevis

  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, edited by John Sutherland
    Broadview, 261 pp, £10.95, December 2011, ISBN 978 1 55111 409 5
  • Silver: Return to Treasure Island by Andrew Motion
    Cape, 404 pp, £12.99, March 2012, ISBN 978 0 224 09119 0
  • BuyTreasure Island!!! by Sara Levine
    Tonga, 172 pp, £10.99, January 2012, ISBN 978 1 60945 061 8
London Review of Books – Vol 34, No. 20 – p.  26-28

John Singer Sargent’s ‘Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife’ (1885).

The first return to Treasure Island was made by Robert Louis Stevenson himself. Fourteen years after the novel was published, Longman’s Magazine published ‘The Persons of the Tale’, in which Captain Smollett and Long John Silver step out of the narrative after the 32nd chapter to have a chat ‘in an open place not far from the story’. Stevenson has the two men wonder whether there is ‘such a thing as an Author’, and – if there is – whose side he’s on. The captain berates Silver for being a ‘damned rogue’; the rogue retorts: ‘Now, dooty is dooty, as I knows, and none better; but we’re off dooty now; and I can’t see no call to keep up the morality business.’ The captain is sure that the author is ‘on the side of good’ (he means on his side). ‘“And so you was the judge, was you?” said Silver, derisively … “What is this good? … by all stories, you ain’t no such saint … Which is which? Which is good, and which bad?”’ As the captain starts to denounce Silver again, the piece ends with the captain saying: ‘“But there’s the ink-bottle opening. To quarters!” And indeed the author was just then beginning to write the words: chapter xxxiii.’

Matthew Bevis teaches English at Keble College, Oxford.

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