Shop H.E. Bates Online
ID
c171
Title
"Introduction" [to The Beach of Falesa, by Robert Louis Stevenson]
Genre
Essay
Page Count
10
Word Count
3100
Publication Year
1959
Document Types
Full-text Online
Literary Criticism
Introductions, Forewards & Prefaces

Bates relates details of a visit to Western Samoa and to Valima (where Stevenson lived at the end of his life) to establish that the novel "is by no means as far-fetched as it might seem." He then discusses at length the difficulties inherent in writing a "very short story" or, in the case of Stevenson's work, a novella, eventually praising the author for utilizing "selection, compression, restraint, economy, impressionism; the oblique ray of light, the sudden cut, the inch or two of canvas left unpainted." He finds as well that Stevenson "is swift to build, in a few sentences, an atmosphere...he is clever, if not indeed masterly, at the impudent, thrown-in sentence...he never lets his story drag." Acknowledging that Stevenson "is neither Tolstoy nor Maupassant," he says that the work "aspires to be nothing more than what is sometimes known as a rattling good yarn -- and what is wrong with that?" In The Beach of Falesa (Robert Louis Stevenson, London: The Folio Society, 1959, pp. 9-18).


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