STEVENSON, Robert Louis (1850-1894). Autograph manuscript drafts of the title-page, prefatory verses (not published) and list of chapter headings for his novel Kidnapped (serialized May 1886), all with revisions (words lined through and replaced with another written above). N.p., n.d. [Bournemouth, England, March 1885-February 1886]. 2 pages, 4to, both written in the light pencil often used by Stevenson, neatly inlaid to larger sheets. [With:] STEVENSON. Two pencil sketches, one of a highland landscape of austere receding hills, delicately shaded, indistinct caption, the other a contour drawing of a mountain crag or mountainous island, captioned "Those glazed and whirling circles that we call wells" N.p., n.d. Together 2 pages, 4to, lined paper, neatly inlaid. (4)
STEVENSON'S DRAFT TITLEPAGE AND CHAPTER HEADINGS FOR "KIDNAPPED"
Two very revealing manuscript drafts and two related sketches for Kidnapped, Stevenson's hugely popular historical novel set in the wild Scottish highlands in the troubled mid-18th-century. The main character, 16-year-old David Shaw Balfour, is kidnapped by a villanous uncle, escapes and befriends Alen Breck Stewart, a fiery Jacobite, and is caught up in the bitter armed struggle of the Scottish highlanders against English rule.
The two drafts are each headed "Kidnapped." The title-page, which Stevenson deliberately wanted to evoke the wordy titlepages of 18th-century sensationalist narratives, reads: "Kidnapped: Being containing the personal adventures of David Shaw; how he was Kidnapped and shipwrecked castaway; his voyage in the wild Highlands; and what he suffered from his uncle Ebenezer Shaw. Written by himself, And now first printed by Robert Louis Stevenson." Beneath, Stevenson has added an eight-line poem ("On the grey rocks he stood; In his hand was the cold iron" ending "Bright sun, when you are weary So will be the sun of slaughter." The poem, perhaps conceived as a prefatory verse, was not used in the published book. The accompanying manuscript, headed "Kidnapped David Shaw," appears to be an early outline or scheme for the novel. Each of the 22 segments has been neatly numbered, probably by Stevenson. These parallel but differ considerably from the 30 chapter headings ultimately adopted for the published book. Here, Stevenson records sequential elements of his story: "1 He leaves home - 2 Is he a chapter day on the journey? - 3 He comes to his uncle's house - 4 he has a dreadful fright - 5 He goes into Newcastle and meets Captain Hoseason - 6 On board the Kidnappers" etc. The final few chapter headings as presented here are "20 They come through the McGregor country to Callendar - 21 Where they are parties to a curious affair - 22 They come one night to his uncle's backdoor." Beneath, Stevenson has sketched a four-part structure for the book: "Part 1 Part 2. Kidnapped. Part 3. Castaway. Part 4 In With the wild Highlandmen."
Manuscript material deriving from Stevenson's major novels rarely appears on the market.