University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

‘Re-writing the Heroic Map: a Discussion of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Problematisation of the Nineteenth Century Hero and Cultural Otherness.’

Webb, Jean ORCID: (2007) ‘Re-writing the Heroic Map: a Discussion of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Problematisation of the Nineteenth Century Hero and Cultural Otherness.’. In: International Research Society for Children's Literature Congress, August 2007, Kyoto Japan. (Unpublished)

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)


Robert Louis Stevenson’s work such as Treasure Island (1883), stories of the South Pacific and his travel writing, problematised the English adventure story for boys, as epitomized by G.A. Henty, in terms of moral and spiritual subjectivity and culture, moving towards Modernism and post-colonial positioning.

Henty’s work is ‘realist’ yet the adventure itself is fantasy – a shift into exoticism through notions of high adventure and heroism. Stevenson again employs realist techniques entering realms of the imaginary and fantasy through the dream sequence and the adventure story in Treasure Island, creating a psychological complexity. The reader thus reads through ‘realism’ and yet engages in fantasy and a more complex moral and psychological positioning. Stevenson’s stories of the South Pacific (admittedly not written for the child reader) take the reader into the exotic, into the ‘otherness’ and present representations of the cultural mix of the Islands, producing a different ‘problematised’ conceptualisation of ‘heroism’ when compared with the model derived from Henty.

This paper discussed the implications of Stevenson’s ‘challenge’ to received notions of heroism and morality, and a re-positioning of cultural otherness. Stevenson’s ‘challenge’ to heroism looks forward, for example, to the Modernist works of Joseph Conrad e.g. Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim where entry for the hero into this complex ‘other world’ questioned the model of the Henty hero to the core.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:

The electronic full-text cannot be supplied for this item.

Subjects: P Language and Literature > PZ Childrens literature
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Jean Webb
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2012 17:13
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2019 16:23

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item
Worcester Research and Publications is powered by EPrints 3 which is developed by the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. More information and software credits.