ISBN : 9780199560356
New to this Edition:
'there were only seven out of the twenty-six on whom we knew we could rely; and out of those seven one was a boy ...'
When a mysterious seafarer puts up at the Admiral Benbow, young Jim Hawkins is haunted by his frightening tales; the sailor's sudden death is the beginning of one of the most exciting adventure stories in literature. The discovery of a treasure map sets Jim and his companions in search of buried gold, and they are soon on board the Hispaniola with a crew of buccaneers recruited by the one-legged sea cook known as Long John Silver. As they near their destination, and the lure of Captain Flint's treasure grows ever stronger, Jim's courage and wits are tested to the full.
Stevenson reinvented the genre with Treasure Island, a boys' story that appeals as much to adults as to children, and whose moral ambiguities turned the Victorian universe on its head. This edition celebrates the ultimate book of pirates and high adventure, and also examines how its tale of greed, murder, treachery, and evil has acquired its classic status.
Note on the Text
A Chronology of Robert Louis Stevenson
Appendix 1: 'My First Book'
Appendix 2: 'A Fable. The Persons of the Tale'
Appendix 3: Sources and Analogues
Glossary of Nautical Terms
In this Oxford World's Classics audio guide, Peter Hunt, Professor Emeritus in Children's Literature at the University of Cardiff, who was responsible for setting up the first course in children's literature in the UK, introduces the newcomer to reading critically texts written for children.
Click on the links below to hear Peter's thoughts on the field and then explore Treasure Island in more detail.
How does Treasure Island differ from earlier adventure stories? (Video on You Tube)
About Treasure Island
"Treasure Island is fundamentally morally ambiguous.
Stevenson does not have black and white, good and bad, to the extent that there is hardly anybody good in the whole book."
Hear how Treasure Island distinguished itself from
the books it borrowed from [3:46]
In many adults' memories, Treasure Island exemplifies a
quality that many children's classics possess - the ability to evoke
memories of a comforting lost paradise.
Peter Hunt talks about why he thinks this is the
How did Stevenson come to write Treasure Island?
Despite its moral ambiguities, some contemporary reviewers dismissed the book as being simply another title in the mould of Ballantyne's Coral Island. [0:35]
In his introduction to Treasure Island, Peter Hunt writes of Stevenson as an 'a mbivalent rebel'
Peter Hunt explains what he meant by this. [1:19]
Introducing Children's Literature
Is it possible to say when children's literature as a recognizable genre started? [0:30]
"All children's books, even now, are didactic in some way."
Peter Hunt explains why. [0:56]
When, where and why did the academic study of children's books begin? [1:13]
When Peter Hunt set up the first children's literature course in the UK, what was his intention?
What advice does Peter Hunt have for someone embarking on the study of children's literature for the first time?
Do you have to learn to read in a different way?[1:35]
When studying children's books, is it important to remember that they are often first encountered by being read aloud by an adult?[1:02]
Peter Hunt reflects on the fact that the classics of children's literature have been extraordinarily productive of other texts, sequels, prequels, adaptations as well as films. [0:41]
When children's books first appeared on university courses, they were regarded as non-canonical texts. Has that changed in the past forty years?
Is there now a canon of children's literature? [1:16]
Biographical and psychological criticism seems to be particularly popular in discussing children's texts.
Peter Hunt discusses this. [1:24]
Are children's books able to address an adult and a child audience simultaneously, thereby becoming vehicles for satire and social comment?[1:26]
When did a market for children's books develop?
Was that an early nineteenth-century phenomenon?[1:23]