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Memories and Portraits
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The sixteen essays of the collection cover a wide range. The first eleven consists of personal memories (and portraits) of family and friends. Indeed, apart from his exuberant and very candid letters, Memories and Portraits is the nearest thing to an autobiography published by Stevenson.

The very first essay is about his memories as a Scot of his first contacts with England (“The Foreigner Abroad”). The collection then continues with memories of early life in Scotland (childhood memories of Swanston, Colinton and Cramond; reminiscences of his University days and his time on the Isle of Erraid while training to be an engineer). In “A College Magazine”, he describes with endearing honesty how he “played the sedulous ape” to great writers of the past, while searching for a style of his own. (This statement became a popular stick for unfriendly critics to beat him with during his life and after.) This group of essays ends with a tender, but very honest, portrait of his recently deceased father and a brilliant analysis of conversation and celebration of friendship in “Talk and Talkers”.
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