Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894  Stevenson as an advocate

The choice of a profession

As he grew up, Robert Louis Stevenson rebelled against the conventions of Edinburgh middle-class society.

He changed the spelling of his name from 'Lewis' to the French form, 'Louis'. Wearing his famous velvet coat, he explored all aspects of the life which the city of Edinburgh presented, turning from the New Town to the Old in search of Bohemianism and adventure.

Determined to write
Hopes that he would enter the family engineering firm were abandoned on the grounds of poor health. He qualified as an advocate, but never practised law. He had other plans for his career:

'All through my boyhood and youth, I was known and pointed out for the pattern of an idler; and yet I was always busy on my own private end, which was to learn to write … indeed I had already my own private determination to be an author … I loved the art of words.'
Stevenson as advocate  University notebook
 Edinburgh Castle illustration
  Edinburgh illustration



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