THE FABULOUS INVALID

COSSETED CHILD, CONVINCING BOHEMIAN, ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON WAS ALSO, A NEW BOOK SHOWS, THE STAR OF AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE

WHETHER ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON was more than a writer of wonderful stories for 12-year-old boys is a question settled beyond doubt by this readable and authoritative biography: he was also, at the very least, the jaunty and flamboyant hero of an extraordinary life story. Frank McLynn's Robert Louis Stevenson (Random House; 567 pages; $30) describes a hardworking idler, a Scottish Calvinist who remade himself as a romantic and (four days out of any seven) a convincing bohemian, a smothered son who remained boyish all his short life, and an invalid who lived a life of arduous travel and physical adventure. (Another...

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