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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde [Paperback]

Robert Louis Stevenson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 1991 0486266885 978-0486266886 REP

In September of 1884, Robert Louis Stevenson, then in his mid-thirties, moved with his family to Bournemouth, a resort on the southern coast of England, where in the brief span of 23 months he revised A Child's Garden of Verses and wrote the novels Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
An intriguing combination of fantast thriller and moral allegory, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde depicts the gripping struggle of two opposing personalities — one essentially good, the other evil — for the soul of one man. Its tingling suspense and intelligent and sensitive portrayal of man's dual nature reveals Stevenson as a writer of great skill and originality, whose power to terrify and move us remains, over a century later, undiminished.


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The young Robert Louis Stevenson suffered from repeated nightmares of living a double life, in which by day he worked as a respectable doctor and by night he roamed the back alleys of old-town Edinburgh. In three days of furious writing, he produced a story about his dream existence. His wife found it too gruesome, so he promptly burned the manuscript. In another three days, he wrote it again. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was published as a "shilling shocker" in 1886, and became an instant classic. In the first six months, 40,000 copies were sold. Queen Victoria read it. Sermons and editorials were written about it. When Stevenson and his family visited America a year later, they were mobbed by reporters at the dock in New York City. Compulsively readable from its opening pages, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is still one of the best tales ever written about the divided self.

This University of Nebraska Press edition is a small, exquisitely produced paperback. The book design, based on the original first edition of 1886, includes wide margins, decorative capitals on the title page and first page of each chapter, and a clean, readable font that is 19th-century in style. Joyce Carol Oates contributes a foreword in which she calls Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde a "mythopoetic figure" like Frankenstein, Dracula, and Alice in Wonderland, and compares Stevenson's creation to doubled selves in the works of Plato, Poe, Wilde, and Dickens.

This edition also features 12 full-page wood engravings by renowned illustrator Barry Moser. Moser is a skillful reader and interpreter as well as artist, and his afterword to the book, in which he explains the process by which he chose a self-portrait motif for the suite of engravings, is fascinating. For the image of Edward Hyde, he writes, "I went so far as to have my dentist fit me out with a carefully sculpted prosthetic of evil-looking teeth. But in the final moments I had to abandon the idea as being inappropriate. It was more important to stay in keeping with the text and, like Stevenson, not show Hyde's face." (Also recommended: the edition of Frankenstein illustrated by Barry Moser) --Fiona Webster --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Booklist

The Whole Story series, which features unabridged texts, annotations, and many colorful pictures, appeals to young people who are urged to read the classics, but reject the small print and dull look of many editions intended for older readers. This edition of Stevenson's classic tale gives the flavor of late Victorian England through its lively ink-and-watercolor illustrations and plentiful reproductions of period photos, sketches, engravings, and paintings. Marginal notes comment on Stevenson and on aspects of the story and of Victorian culture that might be obscure to modern readers. Given the colorful look of the book and the perennial appeal of the story, this version will be a useful addition to many libraries. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great edition of a classic! July 12 2000
Format:Hardcover
Once again, the Everyman hardback edition doesn't disappoint. The high quality book matches the stories inside (the edition also includes some of Stevenson's other short stories). Everybody knows the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but I'll bet if you ask around you won't find many people who have read it! Do yourself a favor and buy this book, curl up one evening and discover imagery and prose that are rarely matched today.
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By bernie TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Atty. Mr. Utterson is worried, as the keeper of Dr Henry Jekyll's will. The will gives everything to Edward Hyde incase of Henry's death or disappearance. Mr. Utterson met the hideous Hyde once and does not trust him. Well it looks like Henry's will will have to be executed as the housekeeper; Mr. Pool thinks Hyde hid Henry's body.

Once again, I saw Spencer Tracy before I read the book, so I was anticipating a different type of story. I read "Treasure Island" so I am familiar with Stevenson's writing style but I did not realize that this story was more of a mystery that draws the conclusion and revelation in the end. The explanation of man and his duel personality is excellent and I suspect he draws on personal experience.

I read the kindle version. It was sparse and strait forward; there was not a lot of fluff and speculation from other personalities. I made sure that the text-to speech was activated before purchasing. This helped but I had to keep reminding myself that the names were mispronounced.

In any event without the kindle I probably would have bought the book but not gotten around to reading it for a few years.

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Double Feature (1932/1941)
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By Stephen Pletko TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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I have seen many movie versions of this classic. So, I made the assumption that I knew the true story. Then I read this book. Was my assumption ever wrong!!!
This particular book of less than 150 pages has five parts:
(1) Opening Pages. They include a brief biography of Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 to 1894). (Takes up 4% of the book.)
(2) Introductory Essay. This was written by the late, famous Russian author Vladimir Nabokov. (Takes up 20%.)
(3) The Actual Story. Its original title is "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1886). (Takes up 65%.)
(4) Afterword to the Story. It is written by a modern writer. (Takes up 8%.)
(5) Selected Bibliography. Outlines great works by and about R.L. Stevenson. (Takes up 3%.)
The introductory essay was an actual lecture Nabokov gave when he was associate professor at Cornell University from 1948 to 1959. It gives a thorough, detailed analysis of this "seldom read" classic.
The afterword consists of a shorter analysis of this classic by the modern writer Dan Chaon. I felt that this afterword provided valuable insight regarding the story of Jekyll and Hyde.
Chaon sums up the entire story: "The structure of ['Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'] follows a path as indirect and elusive as its multiple narrative voices. With its obliquely recorded incidents, its eyewitness accounts and sealed confessions, it resembles...a [police detective's] casebook--a collection of gathered clues, fragments, through which the clever detective may be able to...project a complete narrative. Perhaps one of the most compelling aspects of this novel [of ten chapters] is that, in fact, there's so much left here for [the reader] to fill in, so many scenes that [the reader] can only imagine.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stevenson's psychological nightmare realized May 17 2004
By A.J.
Format:Paperback
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A really good classic.
Everyone should read this classic book. There are so many references in life to this book, and also helps one deal with one's demons.
Published 7 months ago by shadirocks
5.0 out of 5 stars "If he be Mr. Hyde," he had thought, "I shall be Mr. Seek."
Atty. Mr. Utterson is worried, as the keeper of Dr Henry Jekyll's will. The will gives everything to Edward Hyde incase of Henry's death or disappearance. Mr. Read more
Published 12 months ago by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars arrived fast
It was exactly what I wanted and it was delivered fast! Great seller! recommend buying from them. they had great service
Published 12 months ago by Jessica
5.0 out of 5 stars The Duality of Man
This book really provides an interesting insight on the duality of man. This novel really is short and sweet, I read it very quickly, but enjoyed every single word. Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2009 by Brian Murphy
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Story, Fast Read
Quite short story, but one of the best Ive read of RLS. Last book he wrote before he died I think....
Great story, great fast read..
Please check it you for yourself. Read more
Published on Dec 16 2004 by Michael Beveridge
4.0 out of 5 stars Short - and an absolute classic
This book is less of a gripping story and more of a thought-provoking read. Stevenson could have written a much longer story following Jekyll and Hyde, a story that was more... Read more
Published on June 14 2004 by Brendan
3.0 out of 5 stars More of an Idea than a Story
I've never read a novel or novella where there is so little of actual story as there is Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde; where there is so little done with such an amazing idea. Read more
Published on June 7 2004 by B. M. White
4.0 out of 5 stars Defenitly a classic
This book is defenitly a classic. It probably could have been of longer. If it was at least the length of franenstein I am sure I would have given it 5 stars. Read more
Published on May 11 2004 by Nicholas M. Lamarca
4.0 out of 5 stars Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was a wonderful book. It expressed how the string of good and evil are attached, and how different people express themselves in different ways. Read more
Published on May 5 2004 by Ashley Denton
2.0 out of 5 stars Hyde
Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was a disappointing, unstimulating, and over-graphic story. Read more
Published on May 2 2004 by M. Hill
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