Kidnapped

James Annesley case

Beginning with some of the earliest reviews of Kidnapped in 1886,[6] it has been thought the novel was structured after the true story of James Annesley, a presumptive heir to five aristocratic titles who was kidnapped at the age of 12 by his uncle Richard and shipped from Dublin to America in 1728.[7] He managed to escape after 13 years and return to reclaim his birthright from his uncle in one of the longest court-room dramas of its time.[7] As Annesley biographer Ekirch says, "It is inconceivable that Stevenson, a voracious reader of legal history, was unfamiliar with the saga of James Annesley, which by the time of Kidnapped’s publication in 1886 had already influenced four other 19th-century novels, most famously Sir Walter Scott’s Guy Mannering (1815) and Charles Reade’s The Wandering Heir (1873)." [6][7]


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