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Mass Market Paperback Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Book

ISBN: 0671532103

ISBN13: 9780671532109

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The idea for Robert Louis Stevenson's immortal masterpiece of psychological terror sprang from the deepest recesses of his own subconscious -- a nightmare from which his wife awakened him. He wrote it... This description may be from another edition of this product.


Format: Mass Market Paperback

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Customer Reviews

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Victorian sight of Good and Evil struggle.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894) was a remarkable author from the Victorian Era. He has left us at least two masterpieces: "The Treasure Island" (1883) and "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1886) and some other good novels such as "The Black Arrow" (1888). It is amazing how writers and poets are able, thru intuition, to anticipate events or discoveries. When this book was first published, Sigmund Freud was studying with Charcot and not so many years later will produce his theoretic corpus of the human psyche. At some points the present story touches Freud's conceptualizations. Dr. Jekyll suspect evil burdens every human soul, being an obstacle in its way to goodness. So he investigates and produces a drug that "liberates" the evil spirit and doing so he intend to be relived of it. But Evil starts to grow each time more powerful and Mr. Hyde end cornering Dr. Jekyll into impotence and fear. This story has captivated the public's imagination for more than a hundred years. Movies, comics and theater pieces had evolved from it. His tortured dual character is now a well known icon as Stoker's Dracula or Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Even if you know more or less the story and its ending, reading this very short book is a powerful adventure. A Classic you shouldn't let pass by unheeded! Reviewed by Max Yofre.

Stevenson's psychological nightmare realized

Robert Louis Stevenson's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is arguably the single most famous metaphor that Western literature has bestowed upon the public conscience, and certainly the most ubiquitous metaphor for duality of personality. But what of the artistic quality of the novella itself? The outer plot -- involving the detection of Henry Jekyll's double identity by his friend and lawyer Gabriel Utterson -- is the least interesting facet of the story; Stevenson's concept, inspired by a nightmare, and the vivid language he uses to convey it, are what impress the most upon the reader.The respected London scientist Henry Jekyll seems normal enough, but he is fascinated by what he considers to be two distinct sides to his (or, he believes, anybody's) personality, which can be described crudely as good and evil. He furthermore believes these sides are physically separable, just as water can be separated into its constituent elements, hydrogen and oxygen, by electrolysis; and so he invents a potion that essentially splits his personality so that only one side will manifest itself while the other becomes latent. In this way, Jekyll reasons, the "good" side may be an agent of good works without being burdened by the disgrace of an inherent evil, and the "evil" side is free to do his damage without the pangs of remorse he would inherit from the conscience of his good twin. In Freudian terms, Jekyll is the ego, Hyde is the id, but unfortunately -- and this is the point that drives the story -- Jekyll has no superego to tell him that the potion is an irresponsibly bad idea in the first place. In society Jekyll retains his high esteem, but his mutation, the sinister, deformed Edward Hyde, whom he names as an heir as a further disguise of his own identity, is cursed to live in ostracism for his hideous appearance, cruel behavior, and disregard for the law. The fact that Hyde is physically smaller than Jekyll could be symbolic of his moral deficiency or merely reflect the notion that he is only a "part" of Jekyll; but the difference in size is convenient as a plot device because it prevents others from suspecting that Hyde and Jekyll are really the same person. One should not approach "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" as if it were just a primitive example of generic horror. Stevenson excels as a prose writer, suffusing his story with the kind of descriptive nuances that successfully evoke Victorian London at its darkest and most ominous contrasted with the civilized society of gentlemen and otherwise benevolent scientists. I was aware that Stevenson was an essayist, but I was unprepared to find that "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is really an illustrative essay at its base, dressed in monstrous fashion.

Good vs. Evil.

The 'Strange Case Of Dr. Jerkyll And Mr. Hyde' by Robert Louis Stevenson, the same author to bring us 'Treasure Island' and 'Kidnapped', seems to be a basic good vs. evil within the soul of man. Yet Dr. Jerkyll's problems dealing with the evil within turns out LESS than basic. In fact, while Jerkyll fights the evil it seems to grow, becoming stronger. Near the end Mr. Hyde is not only larger than before but seems to be able to appear at will. Yet this is not a DIFFERENT person, both men are the same, sharing the same desires.Within each of us is a Hyde who wants to strike out, to crush those who hurt us or make fun of us. Why else would we love all those action flicks?This is a timeless theme and something everybody has to deal with.

The classic horror tale of the beast buried within us

"The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is assured a place in the history of horror fiction because it the literary classic that represents the archetype of the werewolf (the human with the hiding inside). Along with Mary Wollstonecraft's "Frankenstein" (the Thing Without a Name) and Bram Stoker's "Dracula" (the Vampire) Robert Louis Stevenson's novella is part of the gothic foundation of the modern horror story. All have in common the fact that they promise to tell a story that might best be left untold, which, of course, is exactly the sort of story we want to hear.Given that Stevenson was writing when the genre of horror fiction was not recognized as such, it is surprising that "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is cast in the form of a mystery novel. Stevenson invites his readers to try and get ahead of the story, to put the clues together and come to the conclusion. Today it is nearly impossible to pick up this story and not know the "secret," but if you think back to the late 19th-century when this story was written you can get a sense for how Stevenson used the biases and limitations of his readers to his advantage in keeping them from what we might consider to be an obvious conclusion. More importantly, Stevenson is writing several decades before the writings of Sigmund Freud revolutionized the whole idea of human psychology. Yet we can certainly find evidence of the conscious and subconscious mind of which Freud would write. Stevenson reinforces this metaphor with the block of buildings that divides this particular part of London, with one side representing the civilized world of a respected physician and the other side the squalor of the world inhabited by an inhuman creature who gives in to his every earthly desire. The novella also speaks to the topic of evolution, with Hyde being described as "ape-like," reinforcing the idea that our most human attributes remove us ever further from the category of mere animal.Of the three classic horror novels, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is the most accessible. Not only because of its shorter length, but also because its evil is more realistic, even in terms of our imagination. We might be unable to reanimate the dead or to become the walking dead, but we can certainly relate to the idea of unleashing the beast buried with us. Even if we could not, we can recognize the "werewolf" in the real world in the form of serial killers who try to show a civilized face to us in public. This is not to say that the novella is simplistic, for Stevenson offers a sophisticated narrative. If this is one of those literary you have never read because you already know the story, then you should take out an evening to sit down and finally get around to reading it.

Narrative Technique

Stevenson created Utterson to narrate the story. But large sections of it are composed of Lanyon's letter to Utterson and Henry Jekyll's diary. The advantage of this is that it allows Stevenson to prolong the readers' suspense. In a way, Utterson, Enfield, and, for a time, Lanyon, are in the same position as the readers: observers trying to understand the mystery surrounding Henry Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Stevenson allies readers with Utterson and Enfield. Then, after we learn Lanyon knows Jekyll's secret, we, like Utterson, read his letter eagerly. Lanyon's narrative reveals the secret that Jekyll and Hyde are the same person. But, because Lanyon is also an observer, his narrative cannot tell us anything about Jekyll's motive. We need Jekyll's own account for that. Thus, the narrative method Stevenson chooses prolongs our suspense. Gradually revealing information about Jekyll just heightens our desire to know the full story. By the time we get to Jekyll's story, we are at a fever pitch. I doubt Stevenson could have kept the pace of suspense had he used third-person point of view, and he certainly wouldn't have been able to do it using Jekyll as a first-person narrator. The drive of Utterson's limited point of view matches our own. Stevenson's reliance on a limited first-person point of view also contributes to the story's theme. Perhaps Stevenson uses Utterson, Enfield, and our own ignorance of Jekyll's actions as a metaphor for human ignorance generally. In his narrative, Jekyll repeatedly refers to his life as the result of one choice among many choices he could have made. He creates Hyde to experience life and the other aspects of his personality denied by that choice. Jekyll argues that the choice he has made in selecting one life over another is discriminatory and limiting. It excludes other forms of knowledge and experience. Maybe Stevenson hoped to gain reader sympathy for Dr. Jekyll by associating our ignorance and desire to understand the Jekyll/Hyde mystery with Jekyll's desire to know more of the life he sacrificed to play the role of a respected doctor.
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