- Series: Dover Thrift Editions
- Paperback: 64 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications; 60367th edition (January 1, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0486266885
- ISBN-13: 978-0486266886
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,964 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Dover Thrift Editions) 60367th Edition
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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
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.)
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Compared to a modern "thriller" like Stephen King, this is pretty tame. However, Stevenson has a profound understanding of the human nature. Although an atheist, Stevenson had a clearer understanding of sin than most Christians, in the heart's natural desire for it, in the vain attempts to atone for sin through good works, and in the ultimate failure to overcome it on our own. While your typical thriller on the bookshelves these days is simply trying to scare you, Jekyll and Hyde is exploring what it means to be human. This is a worthy classic that you won't regret reading.
The first thing one notices upon reading this story is the use of language and the specific style in which the story is written. Stories just aren’t written like this anymore, and though it was an adjustment, I felt somehow draw to this unique quality. This classical style of writing gives this story an edge and a sense of mystery that would otherwise come off as boring or over exaggerated.
The true value of this story comes from the introduction of the duality of man, in which this particular character of Jekyll/Hyde represents. The duality of man wasn’t a new idea at the time this story was written, but this story captures a sense of humanity that is still assessable and applicable today. While instances that truly test the human psyche typically stem from some sort of trauma or moral or metaphysical dilemma, Dr. Jekyll explores the inner reaches of his soul simply because he can, and then there are consequences.
Many times people look at Edward Hyde as a villain, but he was only what Jekyll refused to be and was only able to exist because of Jekyll. After reading this story and understanding it to the best of my ability, I don’t see either of these personas as good or bad, but simply products of necessity.
Would Dr. Jekyll bothered to have sought the personification of this less socially acceptable counterpart had society not been so restrictive and “polite” at the time? Would Hyde have been so wicked if the perception of wickedness had not been so profound, or if his counterpart had been allowed the freedom to experience “wicked” things without the necessity of a transformation?
This story is in many ways a jab at society and the big picture that it paints in the minds of its citizens. Does everything have to boil down to question of right and wrong, or is there an acceptable grey area of existence for humanity to dwell within, in still live in harmony? I could go on and on, but I won’t. I’ll leave that to all the profoundly smart thinkers out there who believe they have all the answers.
For now, I just know that I enjoyed this story. Reading the account of these characters through a series of letters was strange and enlightening all at once. It allows the reader a chance to experiences different points of view, but can also have the effect of being indecisive and confusing. However, in this story, the confusion is a good thing. If you read this story with a full and complete understanding every thought and emotion expressed, then you are truly an evolved person and should go ahead and ascend into the heavens. I kid, but seriously, this is not clear case to understand: mentally, physically, or spiritually. If anything, this story excels at leaving the reader with questions of why, how, and what about me?
I’d recommend this story to anyone who appreciates classical literature, sci-fi, and thought provoking stories that question the nature of humanity.
The true strength of the book lay in Stevenson's analysis of the nature of good and evil in mankind and the folly of trying to extract one from the other. It's also a classic example of the dangers of careless science as well as the power of addiction. Having the big reveal eternally spoiled really hurts the story and it's the book is written in a very dry Victorian manner. If you find the book a bit lacking in punch at least be assured it's a quick read.
Still, I enjoyed the surmounting evidence piling up for the real story and especially found it funny that Mr. Utterson had in his possession a letter that would explain things (even a little) very early on from Lanyon.
I expected the book to be told from Dr. Jekyll's point of view but I really liked that it focused on a concerned friend trying to understand what was going on with a mysterious will.