I was prompted to re-read this classic after hearing the poet Paul Muldoon naming it as one of the greatest books he ever read. Muldoon says: “If I could write a book like Treasure Island, I wouldn’t bother with this stuff (poetry).”
It must be over 50 years since I last read “Treasure Island”, and re-reading it was a gripping pleasure. Here are all the pirate tropes which have launched pale imitations such as “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Talk like a Pirate Day”. To name a few: “Agh Jim lad”, “Pieces of Eight”, “Fifteen Men on a dead man’s chest”, “Shiver me timbers”, the one legged pirate, the marooned lunatic etc.
It is still a great yarn, and an incredibly well written, colourful yarn. Here’s a sample of Stevenson’s writing skills:
“Did any of you gentleman want to have it out with ME?” roared Silver, bending far forward from his position on the keg, with his pipe still glowing in his right hand. “Put a name on what you’re at; you ain’t dumb, I reckon. Him that wants shall get it. Have I lived this many years, and a son of a rum puncheon cock his hat athwart my hawse at the latter end of it? You know the way; you’re all gentleman o’ fortune, by your account. Well, I’m ready. Take a cutlass, him that dares, and I’ll see the colour of his inside, crutch and all, before that pipe’s empty.”
Needless to say, nobody took up Long John’s challenge.
A rip-roaring read.