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The Wrong Box BY Robert Louis Stevenson

The Wrong

How to Enjoy The Wrong Box by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne

The Wrong Box BY Robert Louis Stevenson

A hilarious novel about a tontine, a train crash, and a mix-up of corpses

If you’re looking for a fun and witty read, you might want to check out The Wrong Box by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne. It’s a black comedy novel that was first published in 1889, and it’s still relevant and entertaining today. The Wrong Box is about two brothers who are the last surviving members of a tontine, which is a kind of lottery where the last person alive gets all the money. The brothers are Joseph and Masterman Finsbury, and they have different nephews who are eager to inherit their fortune. But things get complicated when Joseph is mistaken for dead after a train crash, and his body is swapped with another corpse. What follows is a series of hilarious mishaps, misunderstandings, and schemes involving the wrong box.

In this article, I’ll tell you why you should read The Wrong Box by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, what makes it so funny and clever, and how you can enjoy it even more. I’ll also answer some frequently asked questions about the novel and its authors. So, let’s get started!

Introduction: Who are Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne?

You probably know Robert Louis Stevenson as the author of famous adventure stories like Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. He was born in Scotland in 1850, and he had a passion for travel and writing. He suffered from poor health most of his life, and he moved to different places in search of a better climate. He died in Samoa in 1894, where he was buried on a hilltop overlooking the sea.

Lloyd Osbourne was Stevenson’s stepson. He was born in California in 1868, and he met Stevenson when he was ten years old. His mother, Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne, had left her husband and moved to Europe with her children. She met Stevenson in France, and they fell in love and got married. Lloyd Osbourne became very close to Stevenson, and they collaborated on several novels together. The Wrong Box was their first joint work, followed by The Wrecker and The Ebb-Tide. Osbourne also wrote his own books, mostly about his experiences in the South Seas. He died in England in 1947.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Why should you read The Wrong Box by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne?

The Wrong Box by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne is a novel that will make you laugh out loud. It’s full of witty dialogue, absurd situations, and memorable characters. It’s also a satire of Victorian society, exposing its greed, hypocrisy, and corruption. Here are some reasons why you should read it:

  • It’s a unique genre: The Wrong Box is one of the first examples of black comedy in literature. Black comedy is a type of humor that makes fun of serious or tragic topics, such as death, violence, or crime. It’s often used to criticize or mock social norms or institutions. The Wrong Box uses black comedy to poke fun at the idea of a tontine, which was a popular investment scheme in the 19th century. A tontine is basically a bet on who will live the longest among a group of people who pay into a common fund. The last survivor gets all the money, while the others get nothing. The novel shows how this kind of gamble can lead to greed, deception, and murder.
  • It’s a clever plot: The Wrong Box has a very intricate and ingenious plot that keeps you guessing until the end. It involves a train crash that kills many people, including an old man who looks like Joseph Finsbury. His nephews Morris and John think he’s dead, but they don’t want to lose the tontine money. So they hide his body in a barrel and send it to their house in London. But on the way, the barrel gets mixed up with another one that contains a statue of Hercules. And that’s not all: Joseph Finsbury is actually alive, but he doesn’t know that his nephews think he’s dead. He also doesn’t know that his brother Masterman is very sick and dying in his bed. And there are more twists and turns along the way that make the story more complicated and hilarious.
  • It’s a colorful cast: The Wrong Box has some very amusing and eccentric characters that add to the humor of the story. For example: Morris Finsbury is the main villain of the novel. He’s obsessed with getting the tontine money, and he’s willing to do anything to achieve his goal. He’s also very nervous and paranoid, and he often makes mistakes that ruin his plans. John Finsbury is Morris’s brother and accomplice. He’s more kind-hearted and naive than Morris, but he’s also very weak and easily influenced. He’s in love with Julia Hazeltine, who is Joseph’s ward and Morris’s cousin. Julia is a beautiful and smart young woman who hates Morris and his schemes. She falls in love with Gideon Forsyth, who is a barrister and a friend of Michael Finsbury. Michael Finsbury is Masterman’s son and a solicitor. He’s a cheerful and generous man who likes to help people and have fun. He’s also very clever and resourceful, and he often outwits Morris and his plots. Masterman Finsbury is Michael’s father and Joseph’s brother. He’s the oldest of the tontine participants, but he’s also very ill and bedridden. He hates his brother Joseph, and he wants to outlive him and get the money. He pretends to be dead when Morris comes to visit him, hoping to trick him into revealing his secrets. William Dent Pitman is an art teacher who gets involved in the story by accident. He receives the barrel with the corpse instead of the crate with the statue that he ordered. He doesn’t know what to do with the body, so he asks for help from his lodger, Edward Hugh Bloomfield. Bloomfield is a medical student who has a dark sense of humor. He suggests that they sell the body to a doctor for dissection, or use it as a model for a painting. These are just some of the characters that make The Wrong Box a lively and entertaining novel.

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How can you enjoy The Wrong Box by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne even more?

The Wrong Box by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne is a novel that you can enjoy on different levels. You can read it as a simple comedy, or as a deeper satire of Victorian society. You can also appreciate it as a literary work, or as a historical document. Here are some tips on how you can enjoy it even more:

  • Learn more about the authors: The Wrong Box is not only a novel, but also a product of the relationship between Stevenson and Osbourne. They wrote it together as a way of bonding and having fun. They also used it as an outlet for their frustrations and criticisms of their own society. You can learn more about their lives, their travels, their works, and their influences by reading their biographies, letters, essays, and other writings.
  • Learn more about the context: The Wrong Box is set in the late Victorian era, which was a time of great social and cultural changes in Britain. It was also a time of great contrasts: between wealth and poverty, between progress and tradition, between morality and corruption. You can learn more about the historical background of the novel by reading books or articles about the Victorian period, especially about topics such as tontines, railways, art, law, medicine, politics, religion, etc.
  • Learn more about the style: The Wrong Box is written in a very witty and humorous style that reflects the personalities of its authors. It uses various literary devices such as irony, sarcasm, exaggeration, parody, puns, allusions, etc. to create comedy and satire. It also uses different forms of language such as dialects, slang, idioms, etc. to create character and atmosphere. You can learn more about the style of the novel by reading books or articles about literary analysis, especially about humor and satire.
  • Learn more about the adaptations: The Wrong Box has been adapted into different media such as film, theater, radio, etc. You can watch or listen to these adaptations to see how they interpret or modify the original story. You can also compare them with each other or with the novel to see what they emphasize or omit.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: Where can I find The Wrong Box by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne?
  • A: You can find The Wrong Box by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne in many online or offline bookstores or libraries. You can also read it for free on websites such as Project Gutenberg or Internet Archive.
  • Q: What are some other works by Stevenson or Osbourne that I might like?
  • A: If you like The Wrong Box by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, you might also like their other collaborations such as The Wrecker or The Ebb-Tide, which are also adventure stories with elements of comedy and satire. You might also like Stevenson’s solo works such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped, or The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which are classics of adventure, mystery, and horror. You might also like Osbourne’s solo works such as Wild Justice, The Queen versus Billy, or The Motormaniacs, which are stories about his experiences in the South Seas, California, or Europe.
  • Q: What are some other examples of black comedy in literature or film?
  • A: Black comedy is a genre that has many examples in literature or film. Some of the famous ones are Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Dr Strangelove by Stanley Kubrick, Monty Python and the Holy Grail by Monty Python, Fargo by Joel and Ethan Coen, Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino, etc.

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Conclusion: The Wrong Box by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne is a novel that you should not miss

The Wrong Box by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne is a novel that you should not miss if you’re looking for a fun and witty read. It’s a black comedy that makes fun of a tontine, a train crash, and a mix-up of corpses. It’s also a satire of Victorian society that exposes its greed, hypocrisy, and corruption. It has a clever plot, a colorful cast, and a humorous style that will keep you entertained and amused. It’s also a novel that you can enjoy on different levels: as a simple comedy, as a deeper satire, as a literary work, or as a historical document. You can also learn more about the authors, the context, the style, and the adaptations of the novel to appreciate it even more. So, what are you waiting for? Grab a copy of The Wrong Box by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne today and have a good laugh!

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