The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Other StoriesBook - 2005
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde dramatically brings to life a science-fiction case study of the nature of good and evil and the duality that can exist within one person. Resonant with psychological perception and ethical insight, the book has literary roots in Dostoevsky’s “The Double” and Crime and Punishment. Today Stevenson’s novella is recognized as an incisive study of Victorian morality and sexual repression, as well as a great thriller.
This collection also includes some of the author’s grimmest short fiction: “Lodging for the Night,” “The Suicide Club,” “Thrawn Janet,” “The Body Snatcher,” and “Markheim.”
Jenny Davidson is Assistant Professor of eighteenth-century literature and culture in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Her novel Heredity appeared from Soft Skull Press in 2003.
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THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE plays with themes of human duality - good and bad residing in the same person - and the temptation to feed them both.
Since publication the story's central theme has enjoyed such popularity and is recounted in so many books and films it's practically an industry unto itself. JEKYLL AND HYDE follows Dr. Jekyll, a Victorian England chemist, in his pursuits of his devil within by concocting a tincture that brings his dark side to the forefront in the form of Mr. Hyde; a side as physically different from Jekyll as it is spiritually. It's all fun and games for Jekyll to embrace his darkest compulsions in the form of Hyde. However, Hyde has no compulsion for Jekyll's civilized lifestyle which ultimately proves problematic. The genie, unleashed, becomes impossible to put back in the bottle.
As with other stories in this volume, a main theme of JEKYLL AND HYDE is that wishes are double-edged swords. What began as a harmless way to feed the Doctor's dark compulsions leads to criminal behavior, ultimately ending in murder. Jekyll finds he can't control Hyde, and so takes the fatal step of physically killing him, thus ending his own life as well. Similarly, in THE BOTTLE IMP the main protagonist relies on a genie-like creature for his happiness, but is ultimately cursed by the magic. Our main character in WILL O' THE MILL finds his double-edged sword within his own fierce independence, and in THE BODY SNATCHER it's ambition which cuts both ways.
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