San Francisco has a long-standing reputation as a literature-loving town, as evidenced by government statistics ranking us as having the highest per-capita spending on books in the country. Over the decades this city has nurtured a number of notable writers from Mark Twain to Dashiell Hammett.

However, there’s one literary memorial in town that has always puzzled me. That is the apparently incongruous monument to Robert Louis Stevenson set in the midst of Portsmouth Square, Chinatown’s open-air living room.

Robert Louis Stevenson? I know him as the author of one of my most beloved boyhood books, Treasure Island, but what was the connection with San Francisco – much less Chinatown?

For post-podcast edification:
» Stevenson essays – especially Across the Plains
» All things Stevenson
» One of a legion of Stevenson biographies

Musical support:
Thanks to 2-3D for “Last Symmetrical Angel”, courtesy of the Podsafe Music network, my faithful podcast music suppliers.