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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde [Turtleback]

Robert Louis Stevenson
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (349 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1985 0606024573 978-0606024570
"The most racking pangs succeeded: a grinding in the bones, deadly nausea, and a horror of the spirit that cannot be exceeded at the hour of birth or death. Then these agonies began swiftly to subside, and I came to myself as if out of a great sickness. There was something strange in my sensations, something indescribably new and, from its very novelty, incredibly sweet. I felt younger, lighter, happier in body; within I was conscious of a heady recklessness, a current of disordered sensual images running like a millrace in my fancy, a solution of the bonds of obligation, an unknown but not an innocent freedom of the soul. I knew myself, at the first breath of this new life, to be more wicked, tenfold more wicked, sold a slave to my original evil; and the thought, in that moment, braced and delighted me like wine. I stretched out my hands, exulting in the freshness of these sensations; and in the act, I was suddenly aware that I had lost in stature. . . ."
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Martin Jarvis delivers a gripping reading of Stevenson's classic. When Gabriel Utteron discovers that the sinister Mr. Hyde has moved into the home of his friend Dr. Jekyll and stands to benefit from his will, he becomes concerned and enlists the help of their mutual friend, Dr. Hastie Lanyon. Things go from bad to worse: Jekyll withdraws further from his social circle; Hyde's criminal sprees culminate in murder; and Utteron and Lanyon fight to save their friend and unravel the mystery of Hyde's origins and disappearance. Jarvis's pacing is excellent, his characterization spot on, and his renditions of Jekyll and Hyde perfect; he creates two distinct characters that illustrate the story's exploration into the duality of human nature. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Product Details

  • Turtleback: 119 pages
  • Publisher: Demco Media (July 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0606024573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0606024570
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 4.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (349 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,111,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
102 of 104 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback

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 (published by Signet Classics in Sept. 2003) 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.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde March 13, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
We all know the term "Jekyl & Hyde" but I suspect many, like me, have never actually read the story. It was a surprising pleasure and I was able to try out the dictionary function on my Kindle several times (words no longer used in modern day writing).
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A psychological drama of the dual nature of man August 25, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The tale of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde has been quite familiar to me for as long as I can remember, but only now have I read the original short novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. It is unfortunate that familiarity has robbed modern readers of the suspense that almost certainly was engendered in Stevenson's contemporary audience. Nor can I attribute a strong hint of terror in these pages, partly because of the plot structure. This is not a straightforward story; we don't follow Dr. Jeckyll in his experimentation. Rather, we are introduced to Jeckyll and Hyde through Jeckyll's lawyer Mr. Utterson. Having drawn up Jeckyll's will to leave everything to Hyde should he disappear, he is most concerned for his client and friend upon learning that Mr. Hyde is a misshapen monster of a man responsible for trampling a young girl in the street. The first half of the book follows Utterson's attempts to discover this Mr. Hyde for himself. The final half of the book contains the story of Jeckyll and Hide, told first in the words of a mutual friend and doctor and ultimately in an account of events penned by the unfortunate Dr. Jeckyll.
It goes without saying that the heart of the story revolves around the duality of the human mind. Each of us has a dark side as well as a good side, and the majority of individuals attempt to disguise any bad, uncontrollable aspects of their natures from the public. Dr. Jeckyll had a predilection for thoughts and acts which he and society frowned upon (although what these acts were is never revealed); as he neared middle age, his life became defined by a continuous inner struggle to keep on the straight and narrow path. He often failed, so he came up with the idea of totally separating his evil nature from his good one.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Published in 1886, THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE was an instant sensation and had a tremendous impact on later generations; it would not be an exaggeration to say that there have been hundreds of stage and film productions drawn either directly or indirectly from the original Robert Louis Stevenson story. Readers who come to the story from these adaptations, however, will very likely be surprised: few of them do more than borrow Stevenson's central concept.

Unlike the numerous stage and film adaptations, Dr. Jekyll is not a young or remarkably handsome man, nor the book does not contain any of the romantic subplots to which its adaptations are prone. At approximately one hundred pages, the story is very direct and extremely well suited to Stevenson's very precise style, which is very clean yet extremely evocative and very readable.

That said, modern readers are unlikely to be shocked by the book. For one thing, the story is too well known; for another, it contains very little of the graphic horror typical of current horror stories. But more than anything else, DR. JEKYLL is very distinctly a novel that draws from the Victorian era, and much of its impact was due to that society's remarkable hypocrisy; it was a world in which appearances were everything and a double life "acceptable" as long as you were not caught at it.

The same concept arises in two other novels from the same era, Bram Stoker's DRACULA and Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY, albeit in distinctly different forms. But whereas the Stoker and Wilde novels transcend their era, Stevenson's tale does not, and with the passing of Victorian attitudes the work has lost a great deal of its power to shock.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great short story
Published 1 day ago by CSOC1
5.0 out of 5 stars Short and enjoyable
this book is great for a one night read, the language isn't too archaic and the story progresses in a satisfying and quick manner.
Published 4 days ago by bardia samiee
4.0 out of 5 stars love the writing style of Stevenson
Pictures were helpful. Enjoyable book and digital version. I recommend this work and classic to anyone. Why required word amount?
Published 9 days ago by Shahna N.
4.0 out of 5 stars I saw what I saw, I heard what I heard, and my soul sickened at it
In 1885, Robert Louis Stevenson had a vivid dream about one man transforming into another, which was interrupted when his wife woke him up.

That dream inspired "Dr. Read more
Published 19 days ago by E. A Solinas
5.0 out of 5 stars great book on human nature!
This is a great book in the way in which human beings are a mixed bag of good and evil. Theologically speaking, we are all made in God's image, yet also suffering from the effects... Read more
Published 22 days ago by M. Mills
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
It was my first time reading this classic and I loved it so much I was disappointed when it ended. I know i'll be reading this repeatedly.
Published 1 month ago by J. Galvez
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
the book was awesome with just the right amount of
mystery. I loved it. everyone should read it. very creepy.
Published 1 month ago by Michael Brittenham
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Nice
Everything about the book is very nice and beautifully designed, just as I expected it to be - Except... Read more
Published 1 month ago by HPMcClendon
4.0 out of 5 stars The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde
This is a really good book,especially if you like characters who have split personalities! I recommend getting a copy yourself and checking it out!
Published 2 months ago by Johnna
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Superbly written. Brilliantly structured. I teach this book to 8th graders and even reluctant readers come to class excited to read more.
Published 2 months ago by ChuckD
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