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Myself and the Other Fellow: A Life of Robert Lewis Stevenson Paperback – Bargain Price, October 31, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[A] shrewd and sparkling biography.” (New York Times Book Review )

“Claire Harman’s judicious, witty and insightful life is as gratifying as it is poignant.” (Washington Post Book World )

“Knowledgeable, vastly detailed biography... Harman lucidly analyzes Stevenson’s immense variety of writings and his even greater variety of unfinished projects.” (Boston Sunday Globe )

“Everything a literary biography ought to be.” (Charlotte Observer )

“Well researched . . . [Harman’s] readings of RLS’s literary prose are critically strong.” (BookForum )

“Splendid...Ms. Harman’s clear-eyed, wry approach to Stevenson and his colorful coterie will grab you and not let go.” (Washington Times )

“A delight from start to finish. [Harman] is steeped in Stevenson and can match his swift, vivid style.” (John Carey, Sunday Times (London) )

“[A] complex portrait...Harman’s kaleidoscopic light suits a man whose personality seemed in a state of constant flux.” (The Economist )

“Harman’s narrative is full, rich, intelligent, and smooth...and is a continuous pleasure to read . . . Uncommonly good.” (Literary Review )

“An engaging look at the life and writings of a complex and contradictory fellow... rendered with honesty, integrity and humor.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred )

“A deeply nuanced portrait of an amazingly complex figure . . . Meticulously researched and well written.” (Booklist (starred review) )

About the Author

Claire Harman's first book, a biography of the writer Sylvia Townsend Warner, won the prestigious John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in England, and her second, Fanny Burney: A Biography, was shortlisted for England's Whitbread Award. She has published acclaimed editions of Robert Louis Stevenson's essays, poems, and short stories. Harman teaches at Columbia University's School of the Arts. She lives in New York City and in Oxford, England.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (October 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060935251
  • ASIN: B001G8WGAW
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,910,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. K. Bagshaw on November 24, 2010
I came across a signed copy of this at a book sale in Saratoga, CA and wondered how a book written about an Scottish/English author signed by a woman from the East Coast found it's way to California, and then I discovered to my delight the California connection in Fanny, the miner's wife Stevenson fell in love with, and that RLS actually spent time roughing it here in a miner's camp. The story of his relationship with Fanny, his parents, and his step-son was heartfelt, as was that of his fluctuating state of health. I only wish Harman had considered alcoholism as contributing factor to both his health and relationships. I was struck by how much Fanny's mental descent mirrored that of my great-grandmother Mama Grace, an Oklahoma homesteader, who fought for survival of her ten children with an alcoholic husband, only to degenerate into a twisted woman when the fight was over. I also wish Harman had written about his mother's response to RLS' death.

What impressed me the most about this book was how well Harman integrates quotes from Stevenson and those who knew him into the overall flow of the book. Her total immersion as a scholar and editor into Stevenson and his works shows, and her style of writing meshes with his -- lively, personable, and very readable.

Dana Bagshaw
author, Mama Grace
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Peterson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 9, 2012
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Robert Louis Stevenson is one of my favorite literary figures. Among many, however, he is not fashionable (for example, the first seven editions of "The Norton Anthology of English Literature" ignored him altogether). But there are at least a few others who feel as I do. RLS was revered by Henry James, Graham Greene, Vladimir Nabokov, and Jorge Luis Borges. Borges even wrote, "If you don't like Stevenson, there must be something wrong with you," and in his large, carefully tended private library, he kept his Stevenson books separate in a special place of honor.

"Tusi Tala" was the name given RLS by the natives when he settled on Samoa, where he lived the last four years of his life. It means "teller of tales", and it is doubly fitting. For not only was RLS one of the best tale-tellers in world literature since Scheherazade, he authored the first fiction published in the Samoan language (a local missionary translated "The Bottle Imp", a moral fable set in Hawaii, and published it in his church magazine).

I actually would have preferred "Tusi Tala" as the title of this biography over MYSELF & THE OTHER FELLOW. That phrase comes from a Stevenson letter in which he referred to the occasional experience, usually as an invalid with a high fever, when he was aware of having "two consciousnesses" - one irrational and absurd, the other being his "right mind." And, of course, in "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", RLS wrote the classic work of the double personality, one respectable and conventional, the other debauched and sinister.

In any event, in MYSELF & THE OTHER FELLOW Claire Harman gives us a thorough and very good biography of RLS. Harman is a Stevenson scholar (she has edited collections of his essays, poems, and stories).
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TruxtonSpangler on May 4, 2013
I was bored senseless. Perhaps it was Stevenson's ways, but I struggled to get through this book. I don't know whether to blame the author or Stevenson, but reading this book was a waste of time.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lorrie M. on January 28, 2014
I haven't read this book yet but please, when listing a biography for sale, spell the name of the subject correctly.
Thank you, 53librarian
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