In November 2018, Journal of Stevenson Studies published our article, “‘The strangely fanciful device of repeating the same idea’: chiasmus in Robert Louis Stevenson’s essays”. This article is based on our July 2017 presentation at the Robert Louis Stevenson International Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Here’s our abstract that summarizes the article:
Chiasmus is a lesser-known but characteristic feature of Robert Louis Stevenson’s essays. Beginning with his earliest published essays Stevenson uses this rhetorical figure to draw attention, please the ear, and develop his arguments. Previous studies on Stevenson’s use of chiasmus have been minimal. F. C. Riedel (1969) identifies an example in Stevenson’s ‘Pulvis et Umbra’ (1888) and describes it as an expression of his ‘juxtaposition of opposites’ in both ‘thought’ and ‘form.’ More recently, Farnsworth’s Classical English Rhetoric (2010) identifies a variety of rhetorical figures in Stevenson’s essays and of chiasmus in Treasure Island. This paper will identify no less than three types of chiasmus that Stevenson employs in his essays in order to heighten our understanding of his syntax and provide a more nuanced understanding of his writings.
We hope you enjoy our article!