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Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes by Robert Louis Stevenson Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes (1879) is one of Robert Louis Stevenson's earliest published works and is considered a pioneering classic of outdoor literature. Stevenson was in his late 20s and still dependent on his parents for support. Travels was both meant to he needed to be with the woman he loved clarification needed], and provide the adventure he craved, having been sickly much of his life. Travels recounts Stevenson's 12-day, 120-mile solo hiking journey through the sparsely populated and impoverished areas of the Cevennes mountains in south-central France in 1878. The character of Modestine, a stubborn, manipulative donkey he could never quite get the better of, is memorable. It is one of the earliest accounts which presented hiking and camping outdoors as a recreational activity. It also tells of commissioning one of the first sleeping bags, large and heavy enough to require a donkey to carry. The Cevennes was the site of a Protestant rebellion around 1702, severely suppressed by Catholic Louis XIV. The Protestant insurgents, a minority population in the region, were known as the Camisards. Stevenson was well-versed in the history, romantically imagining scenes from the rebellion along the way. He notes that the Catholics and the Protestants, at the time of his travels, lived peaceably but with an absolute divide between the two communities. A young Catholic man who married a Protestant girl and changed his faith in the process was unanimously condemned for this breach of loyalty, an example of the sentiment "change is not good" which pervaded the countryside. Stevenson himself was Protestant by upbringing, and both the geography of the Cevennes with its barren rocky heather-filled hillsides, and the history of religious strife that lay over the land, were familiar ground for the Scot. The book appeared the following year, 1879, and is dedicated to his friend Sidney Colvin, a cultured man who had befriended him when he was still unpublished.
About the Author
Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes by Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson (13 November 1850 - 3 December 1894) was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer. His most famous works are Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. A literary celebrity during his lifetime, Stevenson now ranks among the 26 most translated authors in the world. His works have been admired by many other writers, including Jorge Luis Borges, Bertolt Brecht, Marcel Proust, Arthur Conan Doyle, Henry James, Cesare Pavese, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, Jack London, Vladimir Nabokov, J. M. Barrie, and G. K. Chesterton, who said of him that he "seemed to pick the right word up on the point of his pen, like a man playing spillikins."