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The Amateur Emigrant

By Mike Harris.

Based on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic travelogues, journals and personal letters.

In pursuit of the woman he loves Stevenson first catches a steamer to New York and then undertakes a momentous train journey across America - ending in California. But will she leave her husband for him.

In 1879 and 1880, three years before he was to write 'Treasure Island', Robert Louis Stevenson was a largely unpublished and unsuccessful writer.

Despite his father's wishes, however, he saw his life in literature. In 1876, he had met Fanny Osbourne the woman who was to become his lover and later his wife. At the time of their meeting Fanny was escaping from America with her children - away from a husband who only brought her misery through his serial infidelities.
One of Stevenson's earliest publications was an essay 'On Falling in Love' for The Cornhill magazine.

In 1878 Fanny decided that she had to return to America and to her husband. Stevenson embarked on a walk through the Cevennes with a donkey in 1879 which was later to be published as 'Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes' and in August of the same year he resolved to follow Fanny to America.

His journey was also published - most particularly in 'The Amateur Emigrant'.

Mike Harris' two plays portray these two enormously significant journeys and attempt to capture Stevenson's feelings for Fanny and how they affected him on his travels.

Producer: Clive Brill
A Pacificus production for BBC Radio 4.

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 15 Aug 2014 04:15


Role Contributor
Robert Louis StevensonDavid Tennant
FannyLizzy McInnerny
SamMatthew Marsh
Irish ConductorForbes Masson
RLS FatherNigel Cooke
JoshuaNigel Cooke
Dutch WomanJane Slavin
Milk WomanJane Slavin
BelleLottie Rice
Nose in a BookDanny Webb
SchoffelheimerDanny Webb
NY ConductorChinna Wodu
Chicago Telegraph ManChinna Wodu
Ogden ConductorChinna Wodu
WriterMike Harris
ProducerClive Brill
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