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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – January 1, 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0486266886 ISBN-10: 0486266885

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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.
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (January 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486266885
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486266886
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I expected it to be much harder to read and boring.
Shawn_small
Dr. Jekyll suspect evil burdens every human soul, being an obstacle in its way to goodness.
Maximiliano F Yofre
I would recommend this book to anyone that has at least a high school reading level.
Kesha

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Maximiliano F Yofre on October 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894) was a remarkable author from the Victorian Era. He has left us at least two masterpieces: "The Treasure Island" (1883) and "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1886) and some other good novels such as "The Black Arrow" (1888).

It is amazing how writers and poets are able, thru intuition, to anticipate events or discoveries. When this book was first published, Sigmund Freud was studying with Charcot and not so many years later will produce his theoretic corpus of the human psyche. At some points the present story touches Freud's conceptualizations.

Dr. Jekyll suspect evil burdens every human soul, being an obstacle in its way to goodness. So he investigates and produces a drug that "liberates" the evil spirit and doing so he intend to be relived of it.
But Evil starts to grow each time more powerful and Mr. Hyde end cornering Dr. Jekyll into impotence and fear.

This story has captivated the public's imagination for more than a hundred years. Movies, comics and theater pieces had evolved from it. His tortured dual character is now a well known icon as Stoker's Dracula or Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
Even if you know more or less the story and its ending, reading this very short book is a powerful adventure.
A Classic you shouldn't let pass by unheeded!
Reviewed by Max Yofre.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A.J. on May 17, 2004
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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
"The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is assured a place in the history of horror fiction because it the literary classic that represents the archetype of the werewolf (the human with the hiding inside). Along with Mary Wollstonecraft's "Frankenstein" (the Thing Without a Name) and Bram Stoker's "Dracula" (the Vampire) Robert Louis Stevenson's novella is part of the gothic foundation of the modern horror story. All have in common the fact that they promise to tell a story that might best be left untold, which, of course, is exactly the sort of story we want to hear.
Given that Stevenson was writing when the genre of horror fiction was not recognized as such, it is surprising that "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is cast in the form of a mystery novel. Stevenson invites his readers to try and get ahead of the story, to put the clues together and come to the conclusion. Today it is nearly impossible to pick up this story and not know the "secret," but if you think back to the late 19th-century when this story was written you can get a sense for how Stevenson used the biases and limitations of his readers to his advantage in keeping them from what we might consider to be an obvious conclusion.
More importantly, Stevenson is writing several decades before the writings of Sigmund Freud revolutionized the whole idea of human psychology. Yet we can certainly find evidence of the conscious and subconscious mind of which Freud would write. Stevenson reinforces this metaphor with the block of buildings that divides this particular part of London, with one side representing the civilized world of a respected physician and the other side the squalor of the world inhabited by an inhuman creature who gives in to his every earthly desire.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By maelje on June 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
Although sometimes overlooked, Robert Louis Stevenson's novella of dual identity ranks with Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" and Bram Stoker's "Dracula" as one of the great horrific works of the 19th century. I first read it as a boy and I recently returned to it for the upteenth time -- and I'm in my early 50s now. This is one of those stories to which an appreciative reader can relish, over and over again.

That said, I must warn anyone expecting a really good fright that our modern sensibilities probably prevent this book from having that effect. And in fact, "Jekyll and Hyde" was never as terrifying as "Frankenstein," the story of a man who presumes godly powers but creates a monster, or "Dracula," the tale of a creature who seems to have cheated death. Instead, this story of Dr. Henry Jekyll's transformation into a malformed thug is creepy, yes, but also quite sad.

But that evocation of pathos may be the book's greatest strength. As a reader, I am repelled by Mr. Hyde but also feel a great pity for him, so twisted he is in body, mind and soul. Stevenson, able to create those conflicting emotions in his audience, stands as one of our great writers.

I have read that some people reading this book for the first time have been disappointed by the experience, partly because of their own lofty expectations. If you're coming to the book anew, remember that it was written in a different time, long before we had become jaded by slasher films and pointless exercises in cruelty such as the "Saw" and "Hostel" series. This is a marvelous (and short!) tale of a man who lets his humanity slip away into the darkness. Highly recommended.
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