Treasure Island was first serialized in Young Folks magazine from 1881 to 1882 and then published in novel form in 1883. Stevenson created a world-unto-itself, with a ship’s-worth of pirates and rogues, good souls and bad. Reading Treasure Island, we feel the salt spray of the novel, hear the booming surf on the reef, and glimpse the quick wink of that smartest of pirates, Long John Silver. Jim Hawkins is a true spirit, navigating a path through the unworldly, even as circumstances become stranger and stranger. Stevenson soaks us in strong characters with vivid, rich names—rascals and thieves, lawyers and boys. From one’s first reading of Treasure Island, Long John Silver clunks into one’s inner reality with his wooden leg and his squawking parrot and his weasel words, and from that day forward, there is always an inner Long John lurking within us, ready to fool us once again.
Without distracting from the story, examples of the author's use of language, grammar, and poetic techniques are highlighted by Michael Clay Thompson. The glossary defines words that may be unfamiliar.