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Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Norton Critical Editions) Paperback – January 7, 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 1,608 customer reviews

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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 text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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 Hardcover edition.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Series: Norton Critical Editions
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (January 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393974650
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393974652
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,608 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback
Since I am a contributor to this volume, I will not offer a "review" in a conventional sense, but I will offer a list of contents, which this website otherwise does not offer. As there are a number of competing paperback editions of Stevenson's novella and the text of the story is essentially the same (allowing for minor editorial variants), readers should consider the issue of what else besides the main text they will be getting for their money, and this edition is unusually rich in supplementary features, so that the original story makes up only 55 of its 222 pages.

In addition to the text of Stevenson's "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," with explanatory notes by the editor, this volume also contains:

A preface by the editor, a "textual appendix" about textual variants in the manuscripts, a map of 19th century London marking places mentioned in the story, a timeline of the major events in the life of author Robert Louis Stevenson, and a bibliography. Plus...

An excerpt from a biography about Stevenson by Graham Balfour about the circumstances of the story's authorship...

A brief excerpt from Stevenson's "A Chapter on Dreams," which discusses the influence of his dreams on the story...

12 letters by Stevenson that discuss aspects of the "Dr. Jekyll" story...

10 contemporary reviews and comments about "Dr. Jekyll" that show how the story was originally received...

Another horror-oriented short story by Stevenson entitled "Markheim"...

A brief non-fiction piece by Stevenson, "How I Came to be such a student of our Penny Press," together with some examples of 19th century book advertising...

Three essays about the literary context of "Dr.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent bundle of RLS's novels, novellas, and short stories. In fact, according to the blurb in the Kindle Store, "this collection comprises all the fiction Stevenson ever published." I cannot confirm the veracity of "all" and "ever," but this set contains the titles I had expected to find, plus a few pleasant surprises. It is handsomely formatted, and the content is easily accessible via a detailed, but particularly user-friendly, active TOC (though for some reason "The Dynamiter" is listed twice with two different publishing dates). And the price (at a mere $.99) is certainly great for so much content.

But that content is NOT as "complete" as both titles -- the one on the cover ("Complete R.L. Stevenson") and the one in the Kindle Store listing ("The Complete Collection of R.L. Stevenson") -- might lead you to believe. This set is NOT complete with regard to the totality of his creative output; it contains none of his poetry (such as his well-known "A Child's Garden of Verses") nor any of his travel writing, essays, etc. So while the explanatory note clearly states this is complete only insofar as his fiction is concerned, there is no good reason why the title(s) shouldn't be equally as forthright (as in simply and more truthfully: "The Complete Fiction of RLS").

FYI: A (virtually) truly complete set appears in the Kindle Store by Delphi for $2.99, but like most Delphi collections, it provides much obscure material and various supplements that are of primary interest only to die-hard students of the author. That memory-usurping set is not for me at the present time.

The misleading title(s) aside, this is a fine collection and is well worth the low price. It is everything I had hoped it would be, and I am VERY happy with it.
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