Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is an 1885 novel by Robert Louis Stevenson.  (US Edition)  (£0.77 UK Edition)  Everyone knows what Jekyll and Hyde is about.  The phrase, “Jekyll and Hyde personality,” is a part of our culture.  But have you ever read the book?  Sometimes something so familiar is not what we expect it to be .  . .

All at once, I saw two figures: one a little man who was stumping along eastward at a good walk, and the other a girl of maybe eight or ten who was running as hard as she was able down a cross street. Well, sir, the two ran into one another naturally enough at the corner; and then came the horrible part of the thing; for the man trampled calmly over the child's body and left her screaming on the ground. It sounds nothing to hear, but it was hellish to see.

It sounds like nothing to hear?”  It is harrowing!
"But it is more than ten years since Henry Jekyll became too fanciful for me. He began to go wrong, wrong in mind; and though of course I continue to take an interest in him for old sake's sake, as they say, I see and I have seen devilish little of the man.
I thought it was Mr. Hyde who was the bad guy?
The story of how the book is written belongs with those books written in a haze as well as those books produced by a dream.  The book was written very quickly while Stevenson was ill or maybe on drugs.  For good measure he claimed to have burned the original manuscript and then rewrote it from memory.  Strange provenance or not, it is a strange book!
"Well, sir," returned the clerk, "there's a rather singular resemblance; the two hands are in many points identical: only differently sloped."

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