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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 (25 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
By bernie TOP 100 REVIEWER
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Stevenson's psychological nightmare realized May 17 2004
By A.J.
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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3.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Review April 29 2004
By catie
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Review
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a thought provoking, entertaining novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. His intricate plot, themes, and use of symbolism make the novel fascinating to read. The concept is extremely mature and well developed. Also, Stevenson's unique point of view makes the novel even more interesting.
The themes of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are important in the novel. The basic and rather obvious main theme is the duality between good and evil. The duality is manifested in two different ways: the respectable Dr. Jekyll and the evil Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll is a hypocritical doctor who has an evil deep in side of him that he desperately tries to get rid of throughout the novel. He transforms into Mr. Hyde hoping to reduce his aggressions and obsession with his evilness. This, however, proves to be fatal.

Stevenson's unique point of view reinforces the mystery of the novel. The main point of view is of Mr.Utterson. He is a quiet, respectable lawyer who is extremely observant to his surroundings. Through his point of view, we see things just as they appear to him, making the novel interesting to read. Towards the end of the novel, we are introduced to two different narrators, Mr. Lanyon and Dr. Jekyll. Mr. Lanyon, the doctor, makes the novel clear and describes, in more detail, the process that transformed Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde. The last chapter, narrated by Dr. Jekyll brings the novel together. Dr. Jekyll plainly describes how the soul is made of two separate distinctions: the good and the evil. Dr. Jekyll's experiments with good and evil turn out completely failed.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not What I Expected Feb. 8 2004
In this story, Mr. Utterson, lawyer and friend of Jekyll is trying through friendly concern to discover the truth about the young and disreputable Mr. Hyde who he believes is coercing the doctor. Jekyll is always one step ahead of him in covering up Hyde's true existence until Jekyll is no longer able to control his transformations and Utterson is called by the frightened servants to intervene. This was an enjoyable story though brief.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was remarkably subdued story from what I expected. Having seen the movie Mary Reilly previous to reading this book, I expected Mr. Hyde to be more fully developed. What Mr. Hyde does that is so 'evil' is never specified (I mean in terms of general lifestyle - the murder is covered). In fact, the only real reference we get to this life is the character of his dwelling and the presence there of penny novels (cheap, ill respected literature). Except for the murder of an undeveloped character and a general rudeness, we don't really get to know Mr. Hyde as the evil monster I expected. Mr. Hyde is afraid to leave the lab for fear of the gallows but that is as close to a manhunt as we get, unlike in Frankenstein where the chase seems to cover half of the globe or in The Invisible Man were a serious manhunt provides a great deal of action and pace. Mr. Hyde is also a great deal different from how he is represented by Hollywood (for instance, he is shorter than Dr. Jekyll). I guess I was expecting a more likable or romantic villain giving rise to more of a dilemma in trying to destroy him.
This story should be read. I am not trying to "dis'" it. I just expected more out of it because later authors/producers pulled out of it way, way more than was in the original. What this story has is raw potential.
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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 8 months ago by shadirocks
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 13 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
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
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Alex is the man
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. hyde is a story that is told in weird scenario. This is a book that is told in a collection of letters. Read more
Published on April 30 2004 by Alex
4.0 out of 5 stars Dr. J. and Mr. H.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was a great book. I thought it was strange that the author would kill Hyde/Jekyll off so early in the book, but he pulled it together... Read more
Published on April 30 2004 by Alex
5.0 out of 5 stars A Double Life
The reason this bizarre novella has continued to remain so popular and to capture people's imagination is because the idea behind it is ingenious and SO true about human nature:... Read more
Published on March 29 2004 by I ain't no porn writer
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