LeBris-conference-Florac-p

Michel Le Bris is the founder and director of the Etonnants Voyageurs Festival in Saint Malo. He is a Stevenson specialist and collaborated with the Association for the creation of the exhibition: Travels with Robert Louis Stevenson.
He wrote the following conclusion to the exhibition:

Stevenson, the inventor of ‘travel writing’.
“The outdoors heals”, “accounts of a successful trip are a fragment of an autobiography”: two statements which mark the beginning of a new approach to travel writing, where personal experience of the outdoors becomes an adventure of the spirit – the adventure of a person transformed, revealed to himself through the eyes of the world and of others.

Stevenson is the father of all modern travel writers.

An essay writing genius

“The most intelligent comments ever made about literature”(Nabokov)

“One of the most beautiful things ever written” (William James)

“I placed it above all else - "A Chapter on Dreams" (Borgès)

Stevenson was above all a genius essay writer who took an entirely new approach to novel writing. Henry James drew his inspiration directly from him in his Art of Fiction, which is often referred to as the founding work of modern literature. And Borgès freely quoted Stevenson in his preface of The Invention of Morel which is considered to mark the introduction of the magical realism in South American writing.

A revolutionary novelist
Techniques of suspense and progressive description, substitution of impressions for descriptions, use of the “point of view” (two in Treasure Island), intertwining of stories, dislocation of characters, splitting the subject (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde): in the seemingly smooth format of the adventure novel, Stevenson sparked a literary revolution and heralded a new era for novel writing — the adventure was, for Stevenson, in the very format of the novel rather than its subject.
When a group of young writers concluded that the French novel writing scene was extremely lacklustre, they created the Nouvelle Revue Française in 1909 and turned immediately towards the examples of Stevenson and Conrad in order to stimulate a new approach…

A singular destiny
Showered with praise, considered as a genius by the greatest writers yet ignored for decades by arrogant critics who tended to pigeonhole Stevenson’s works for children’s bookshelves: his life and works followed a very singular destiny.
Henry James, Jorge Luis Borgès, Marcel Schwob, Antonin Artaud, Stéphane Mallarmé, Marcel Proust, W.B. Yeats, Herman Hesse, Bertold Brecht, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Pierre MacOrlan, John Steinbeck, Graham Greene, Italo Calvino, Angelica Carter, JMG Le Clézio, Nicolas Bouvier, Alvaro Mutis, Antonio Tabucchi: the list of writers who have been inspired in some way by the work of Stevenson is long .

His work seems to be communicating a message, a message that this eternal bohemian communicates to writers who are too frequently overlooked by the critics…