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The Master of Ballantrae (1889)

por Robert Louis Stevenson

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Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

The Master of Ballantrae: A Winter's Tale is one of Stevenson's darker, more political novels. Two brothers are brought into conflict by the Jacobite rising of 1745, which tears their family apart.

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Inglês (33)  Espanhol (4)  Francês (2)  Alemão (1)  Todas as línguas (40)
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Reason Read: Winter Tale (Shakespeare), 1001
I read this because it is a rewrite of Shakespeare's Winter Tale which I also read this month. This is a story of adventure and family conflict. Set during the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. Two Scottish brothers in conflict over a woman and an estate and their conflict leads to destruction.The two sons agree to toss a coin to determine who goes. The Master wins and departs to join the Rising, while Henry remains in support of King George II. This was a strategy so that the property could be maintained no matter who won. ( )
  Kristelh | Dec 16, 2022 |
La historia gira en torno al conflicto entre dos hermanos, dos nobles escoceses cuya familia está enfrentada por la rebelión jacobita de 1745.
  Natt90 | Nov 15, 2022 |
Desde que supimos que el doctor Jekyll tenía su Mr. Hyde, aprendimos a sospechar en los personajes de Stevenson, incluso en los más aventureros, la cara oculta de la luna. En El señor de Ballantrae, novela de permanente guerra fratricida, indagó en el origen del mal y sus consecuencias. ¿Qué pensaba de ese personaje que no acaba de morir, diabólico resucitado que una y otra vez resurge de la tumba? ¿Es la descripción de una batalla contra el mal en la que siempre acabamos vencidos, como el caballero que tanto admiraron los románticos? "Así soy yo", había dicho Stevenson un día en que leía el Quijote en la cubierta de una goleta que navegaba por el Pacífico.
  Daniel464 | Jun 30, 2022 |
I've been reading Joseph McElroy's massive, & I'm happy to say: quite substantial, "Women and Men" & I needed to take a break for something easier. Enter "The Master of Ballantrae". I read Stevenson's "Treasure Island", "Kidnapped", "A Child's Garden of Verses", &, probably, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" when I was a kid. I reread "Jekyll" recently. SO, reading another Stevenson was like returning to my childhood somewhat for me.

I don't have the slightest idea what Stevenson's politics were so I'll try not to read any intentions of his into this beyond entertainment. Nonetheless, this story is rife w/ class implications - even if they weren't necessarily intended by the author.

p. 33:

"It has often been commented on, how much better gentlemen of birth endure fatique than persons of the rabble; so that walking officers, who must tramp in the dirt beside their men, shame them by their constancy. This was well to be observed in the present instance; for here were Ballantrae & I , two gentlemen of the highest breeding, on the one hand; and on the other, Grady, a common mariner and a man nearly a giant in physical strength. The case of Dutton is not in point, for I confess he did as well as any of us. But as for Grady, he began early to lament his case [..]"

Now this is being written from the perspective of one of the 'gentlemen'. Of course, both 'gentlemen' are unscrupulous murderers of the 1st order & such things as what food the 'gentlemen' eat & what the mariners eat, who had to do the most exhausting work & how often, etc, goes unexamined. It's hard to say whether Stevenson is making a wry commentary on classist justification for upper-class barbarism or not. Whatever the case, one of the 'gentlemen' murders Dutton on the next page.

Later, in the same 'gentleman''s acct, he credits the 'gentlemen''s success to be partially as a result of "Divine blessing on all our efforts." Apparently the 10 Commandments dictum of "Though Shalt Not Kill" matters not a whit. "Divine Rights" anyone?!

It was interesting to me to see certain terms used that still resonate today: "Free Traders" being smugglers in this historical context & NAFTA types in today's day & age. "Master" is used often both in a willingly subservient way & to refer to the title's character who's a thorough villain. "Desert" is used in a sense no longer exactly used today - viz: any area NOT 'DEVELOPED' by humans is a "desert". This is an historically accurate usage as I can attest: at the History Center where I work I've come across what's now Pittsburgh referred to as a "desert" by a conqueror & colonizer of the region. Today's euphemism & excuse for World Bank & IMF exploitation might be "underdeveloped nation". This latter is much trickier language.

All in all, I enjoyed this. It was a 'good yarn' as people once sd (& don't seem to say much anymore). Typical of 19th c. novels, the villain is nicely drawn & the reader is expected to both root for the protagonist & profit from the moral. I reckon I'll never get completely sick of this type of writing but I'm definitely far, far beyond it. ( )
  tENTATIVELY | Apr 3, 2022 |
I have lately become somewhat interested in Robert Louis Stevenson. We watched a movie called Antoinette Dans Les Cevennes (My Donkey, My Lover and I) which follows a French women trekking through the Cevennes National Park with a donkey hoping to meet up with her married lover. People do this multi-day trip because Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a book called Travels With a Donkey in the Cevennes. I haven't been able to read that book so I thought this one would do for the moment. It's also on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list so it counts as my first read from that list for 2022.

Supposedly this book is a memoir of the man who was the faithful steward to the Scottish family of the Duries who owned Durrisdeer and Ballantrae. In 1745 when Bonnie Prince Charlie returned to Scotland all of the Scottish clans were called to support him against the British. The Duries were somewhat equivocal about this call to arms as they knew if it failed the British would be merciless in punishing the families that supported the Prince. Since there were two sons, the elder, James, the Master of Ballantrae, and Henry, it was decided that one would go to ride with the Prince and one would stay home and pledge fealty to the British crown. A coin was tossed and it was James who went off with some of the estate's men to fight with Prince Charles. The final battle between the Scots and the British at Culloden was a disaster for the Prince's followers. Only one man from the estate made it home and he said that James had been killed in the battle. James was supposed to wed the old Lord's ward, Miss Alison Graeme, who was the heiress to a considerable fortune. Alison was in love with James so this match was greatly to her liking. So she was extremely grieved when word came of his death. Henry (and his father) were determined that he would marry Alison. On Henry's part he genuinely loved Alison but certainly her fortune would not go amiss. Eventually he won her assent and they were married. Shortly after an Irishman, Colonel Francis Burke, arrived at the estate, lately having been in France, where he had been in the company of James. (In fact he and James had been at Culloden and escaped together to have many adventures together, including piracy.) Burke had come to get money from the family for James who dared not set foot in Scotland himself. Over the years James demanded more funds, causing the estate to institute severe privations on the family remaining. It isn't much of a surprise that there were ill feelings on both sides and several clashes between the brothers. At last the two end up in the wilds of upper New York state for a final confrontation.

Stevenson wrote this book in that same area where the book ends. He, his wife, his mother and a stepson were there so Stevenson could be treated by a doctor who specialized in tuberculosis. The Afterward details how the Stevensons lived at Saranac Lake and their subsequent adventures which took them to the South Pacific. For a man as ill as Stevenson was he certainly managed to pack a lot into his relatively short life. ( )
  gypsysmom | Feb 7, 2022 |
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Stevenson, Robert Louisautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Bentley, B. AllenIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Ward, LyndIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

The Master of Ballantrae: A Winter's Tale is one of Stevenson's darker, more political novels. Two brothers are brought into conflict by the Jacobite rising of 1745, which tears their family apart.

.

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