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5 March 1981
Precipitous City 
by Trevor Royle.
Mainstream, 210 pp., £6.95, May 1980, 0 906391 09 1
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RLS: A Life Study 
by Jenni Calder.
Hamish Hamilton, 362 pp., £9.95, June 1980, 0 241 10374 6
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Gillespie 
by J. MacDougall Hay.
Canongate, 450 pp., £4.95, November 1979, 0 903937 79 4
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Scottish Satirical Verse 
edited by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 236 pp., £6.95, June 1980, 0 85635 183 0
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Collected Poems 
by Robert Garioch.
Carcanet, 208 pp., £3.95, July 1980, 0 85635 316 7
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... and you are excused from the sin of never having heard of them. It is good to be reminded by Jenni Calder’s interesting study that Stevenson was, among others, ‘the Shorter Catechist of Vailima’ in the South Seas. ‘Scott’s hopeless merit’ – the phrase is Stevenson’s – may have been more helpful to him than he chose to ...

Heliotrope

John Sutherland

3 December 1992
Robert Louis Stevenson: Dreams of Exile 
by Ian Bell.
Mainstream, 295 pp., £14.99, November 1992, 1 85158 457 9
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... Scottish novel and wrote part of it down, the fragment of Weir of Hermiston. Ian Bell – like Jenni Calder and James Pope-Hennessy – has written a biography as readable as a romance. Not that Bell surrenders anything to the romantic stereotypes that cluster round RLS. On the dark pockets of Stevenson’s life, he takes a very sober line. In ...

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