Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894) is known today mainly for his stories of adventure, the gothic, and the South Seas, such as Treasure Island, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and The Ebb-Tide – works populated by few female characters, and dealing mainly with male relationships through constructions of colonial masculinity, gentlemanliness and camaraderie. However, one of Stevenson's most striking female characters appear in the posthumously published short story 'The Enchantress' which places marriage and gender relations at the heart of the plot. The story was written between 1888 and 1890, at the high point of the late nineteenth-century marriage debate which concerned legal and social reform of gender relations and especially the marriage institution. Reading Stevenson's writing in the context of the Victorian Woman Question and New Woman fiction, the article situates Stevenson as a writer engaged in gender debates of the time, and as highlighting specifically Scottish aspects of such debates. While Scottish figurations of the New Woman are often neglected in scholarship, Stevenson's story – dependent as it is on a Scottish geographical and legal context – suggests a specific Scottish trajectory in this literary tradition.


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pp. 123-142
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