Beinecke Visiting Fellow Talk | Robert Louis Stevenson and St. Gaudens' Medallion

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 11:00am

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library
121 Wall St., New Haven, CT 06511
Room 39

Not Busted but Medallioned: Robert Louis Stevenson and St. Gaudens' Medallion

When Robert Louis Stevenson landed in New York in 1887, the sculptor Auguste St. Gaudens asked to do his portrait. Stevenson sat (or rather sat up in bed) for St. Gaudens over several days, then several months later sat for a few final sessions. The portrait, a bas relief medallion, was recognized by many who knew him as the best depiction of Stevenson, and it became the most popular of St. Gaudens' many low-relief works. This talk brings to life the encounter between these two fascinating men and examines two versions of the medallion held by the Beinecke to see what image they portray of one of the most popular authors in America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and how this image had to be adapted for the grand Stevenson Memorial in St.Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh.

Beinecke Visiting Fellow, Robert-Louis Abrahamson, was educated at Amherst College, University of Edinburgh, and Rutgers University, and is Professor of English at the University of Maryland University College’s European Division. He is co-editing a five-volume edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s essays, part of the 40-volume Collected Works of Stevenson being published by Edinburgh University Press. In aid of this project he is carrying out research in the Stevenson archives at the Beinecke Library.


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