Weir of Hermiston

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Weir of Hermiston
Author Robert Louis Stevenson
Country Scotland
Language English
Genre Novel
Publisher Chatto & Windus
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)

Weir of Hermiston (1896) is an unfinished novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. Many have considered it his masterpiece. It was cut short by Stevenson's sudden death in 1894 from a cerebral hemorrhage. The novel is set in Edinburgh and the Lothians at the time of the Napoleonic Wars.

Plot summary[edit]

The novel tells the story of Archie Weir, a youth born into an upper-class Edinburgh family. Because of his Romantic sensibilities and sensitivity, Archie is estranged from his father, who is depicted as the coarse and cruel judge of a criminal court. By mutual consent, Archie is banished from his family of origin and sent to live as the local laird on a family property in the vicinity of Hermiston (now on Edinburgh's outskirts, and occupied by Heriot-Watt University, but then out in the countryside).

While serving as the laird, Archie meets and falls in love with Kirstie (Christina). As the two are deepening their relationship, the book breaks off. Confusingly, there are two characters in the novel called Christina.

Influence on Popular Culture[edit]

  • The 1969 Jack Bruce song Weird of Hermiston gets its name from the book.
  • In the movie version of Fahrenheit 451, one of the characters has memorized the book, and is teaching it to his nephew before he dies.
  • The Robert Louis Stevenson website maintains a complete list of derivative works.[1]