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Stevenson in our time

Robert Louis Stevenson’s reputation began to undergo a certain restitution in the 1980’s. Scholarly reference works in 1980 and 1981 by Roger Swearingen and Paul Maixner respectively, began to reawaken critical interest in Stevenson. 

In 1988 the influential collection of essays Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde After 100 Years made further inroads in the critical realm. In addition, Oxford World Classic editions of many Stevenson works were published in the late 1980s. Since 1995 a number of volumes of literary criticism on Stevenson have been published as well as the establishment of a website in 1997, a biennial conference in 200, and the Journal of Stevenson Studies in 2004. From a critical and academic standpoint, Stevenson is once again enjoying the popularity he achieved in his lifetime. 

However, from a non-critical perspective, it is safe to say Stevenson never went out of fashion. Treasure Island is considered the quintessential pirate story and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has been so endlessly adapted, and in such a variety of formats, that its existence has become colloquial in our language. 

Amongst authors such as Borges, Ian Rankin, Jeannette Winterson, and Margaret Atwood, he is admired and cited as an influence. Through the vicissitudes of criticism and history, he has reemerged as a significant voice in English literature, both within the English-speaking world and far beyond it. 

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