Ever since the publication of Treasure Island, historians and critics have sought to prove that Stevenson’s story was influenced by a real treasure island. This hypothesis was the result of Stevenson’s own admissions how other writes and personal experiences influenced him.
In 1884, the year after TI was published, the New York Times, observed: “It would have been fairer to dedicate the book to Edgar Allen Poe, rather than his stepson. It is the story called the ‘Gold Bug’ with many pleasant and clever amplifications.”
Just before he died, Stevenson made some more admissions: “I am now upon a painful chapter. No doubt the parrot once belonged to Robinson Crusoe. No doubt the skeleton is conveyed from Poe. I think little of these, they are trifles and details…The stockade I am told is from Masterman Ready. It may be but I care not a jot… It is my debt to Washington Irving that exercises my conscience, and justly so, for I believe plagiarism was rarely carried farther.” Frank Gwyn, Stevenson biographer, detected that “the whole of his book is constructed out of materials found in other books. Stevenson utilizes all his resources all that he read and all that he observed.”
At last that question has been answered and documented in Treasure Island: The Untold Story. Based on research in Spain, England, Denmark, The Netherlands, Scotland, Wales, the Caribbean, and in the United States, this book tells the story that centuries old documents reveal.