Personal Reminiscences in Book Making

Af: R. M. Ballantyne



Author R.M Ballantyne was born in Edinburgh, into a well-known family of printers and publishers. The ninth of ten children, it wasn’t long after his birth that his father’s family business, ‘Ballantyne & Co.’ began to run into financial difficulties following a national banking crisis. With the future of the family business in dire straits, Ballantyne moved to Canada to live and work when he was just sixteen. Returning the Scotland following his father’s death in 1847, Ballantyne worked initially for a publishing house upon his return before concentrating on his own literary career. This book contains Ballantyne’s reminiscences on the book-making industry – so long a part of his family heritage – and is a fascinating account of the industry during the early to mid-19th century. R.M. Ballantyne (1825-1894) was a Scottish artist and prolific author of mostly children’s fiction. Born in Edinburgh, Ballantyne was the ninth of ten children. At the age of 16 Ballantyne moved to Canada, where he worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company, travelling all over the country to trade for fur. He returned to Scotland in 1847 following the death of his father, and it was then that he began his literary career in earnest, writing over 100 children’s adventure books over the course of his life. Stories such as ‘The Coral Island’ and ‘The Young Fur Traders’ were hugely popular, and many of them drew on his own experiences of travelling throughout Canada. A stickler for detail, Ballantyne continued to travel widely to research the backgrounds and settings for his exciting stories. His tales became an inspiration for authors of the future, including ‘Treasure Island’ novelist Robert Louis Stevenson. Ballantyne spent the latter period of his life living in London and Italy for the sake of his health. He died in Rome in 1894 at the age of 68.

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