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First Folio Society Edition, 1967. Charming Folio edition of Stevenson's first published work which is illustrated by Edward Ardizzone. The book is in very good condition, including the slipcase. The book is made up of olive cloth boards with pictorial design and bright gilt titling to the spine.


This book was written to secure independence from his parents and a future with the woman he loved; Travels with a Donkey is a pioneering work of travel writing. Detailing Stevenson's journey through the curious Cévennes mountain region of France in 1878 with a truculent donkey as a companion. Interesting not only for its author and setting but also as one of the earliest depictions of outdoor recreational camping. The book recounts Stevenson's 12-day, 120 mile (200km) solo hiking journey through the terrain, with its barren rocky heather-filled hillsides, he often compared to parts of Scotland. The other principal character is Modestine, a stubborn, manipulative donkey he could never quite master. 


What is interesting is that it also tells of Stevenson commissioning one of the first sleeping bags, large and heavy enough to require a donkey to carry. Stevenson is several times mistaken for a peddler, the usual occupation of someone traveling in his fashion. Some locals are horrified that he would sleep outdoors and suggest it is dangerous to do so because of wolves or robbers.


Stevenson provides the reader with the philosophy behind his undertaking: "For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more clearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilization, and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints. Alas, as we get up in life, and are more preoccupied with our affairs, even a holiday is a thing that must be worked for. To hold a pack upon a pack-saddle against a gale out of the freezing north is no high industry, but it is one that serves to occupy and compose the mind. And when the present is so exacting who can annoy himself about the future?"

Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes by Robert Louis Stevenson

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